Five Best Friday Columns

Robert Scales on the military's resistance to attacking Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry takes his Syria case to the Huffington Post, Jessica Lahey explains why she won't be constantly watching her son's school grades, Neil Irwin on the weak jobs report, and Roger Cohen notes Germany's silence on Syria.

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Robert Scales in The Washington Post on the military's resistance to attacking Syria The military overwhelmingly does not want a war in Syria, writes retired Army Maj. Gen. Scales, who cites discussions with military servicemen and the disinterested body language of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey during the recent Senate hearings. "They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense ... So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective," he writes. "Wow. Bob Scales. This might be Obama's 'revolt of the generals' moment a la Rumsfeld '06," writes Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian's U.S. national security editor. Not so fast, writes Andrew Exum, a former Army officer in Afghanistan and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security: "Folks, beware any retired officer who claims to be able to speak for the political preferences of unnamed legions of military officers," he tweets.

John Kerry at the Huffington Post on the case for attacks on Syria Secretary of State Kerry continues his press for military action against Syria and cites lessons learned from Vietnam and Iraq. "Secretary Hagel and I support limited military action against Syrian regime targets not because we've forgotten the lessons and horrors of war -- but because we remember them," Kerry writes. He also emphasizes the moral point of attacking Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, which crossed the "world's red line" on warfare. "We cannot allow these weapons to be used to slaughter innocents with impunity. This is a vote of conscience," he concludes. CNN senior producer Vaughn Sterling notes that, after he won the support of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "John Kerry turns to the Huffington Post to lobby for a strike on Syria." Despite his domestic push, Kerry still faces resistance internationally, such as from Dutch journalist Michael van der Galien, the founder of Dutch political blog De Dagelijkse Standaard: "Why do they invent that 'the world' said there was a 'red line'? 'The world' said no such thing," he writes.

Jessica Lahey at The Atlantic on how closely parents should keep track of their children's grades Some high schools are now giving parents the ability to constantly check up on their children's grades online, and it has already become a source of stress and debate for parents and students. Lahey, a former teacher, is one of many parents who have chosen not to use the services for fear of creating a sense of distrust between her and her son. "For the time being, I choose to trust in the power of open communication and my son’s emerging sense of responsibility and character," Lahey writes. "Great read," notes Dr. Rod Berger, the vice president of education for RANDA Solutions, a software firm that works with education. "I Will Not Check My #Child's Grades Ever (Or will you?) < [Inquiring] Minds Want to Know!" writes Sue Scheff, the founder of Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc.

Neil Irwin at The Washington Post's Wonkblog on the disappointing jobs report The newest jobs report shows unemployment fell from 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent, "But in almost all the particulars, you can find signs that this job market is weaker than it appeared just a few months ago, and maybe getting worse," Irwin writes. The unemployment drop was caused by people leaving the work force and the number of jobs added per month is slowing. "You don’t have to squint hard to see evidence that the 'nice, steady improvement' theme that has been the conventional wisdom is missing part of the story," Irwin argues. Conservatives were quick to point out that they've been saying these comments for months now. "Even @WashingtonPost cannot spin away todays numbers," tweets Los Angeles TV and radio personality Larry Elder. "Welcome to the party, pal," writes conservative radio host and Townhall writer Derek Hunter.

Roger Cohen in The New York Times on Germany's silence on Syria "As world leaders debate the Syrian crisis, Europe’s dominant power is conspicuous for its silence," Cohen writes of Germany, which has moved away from the typical power state in favor of an economic merchant state. Germany's immensely robust economy makes it a leader in Europe, but the country would rather lead by silent example than by power. "Gassing in Syria, shamefully, is scarcely a German concern. Germany is the ghost of international relations," Cohen explains. "Illuminating column on Germany by @NYTimesCohen. Still dying to read the definitive Angela Merkel profile," tweets The New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins. "Why #Germany will not lead. (The very word for leadership, “Führung”, is problematic through historical association.)," writes Holger Zschaepitz, an economics and finance editor at the German newspaper Die Welt.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.