The Washington Post

Empty house, big questions

Got back last night from dropping the youngest at college. Still processing this transition. Still pondering. Not ready to discuss it at length. Obviously, I’ll need to buy a motorcycle, or some such major purchase that can be plausibly explained as the only possible salve for my pain. Or perhaps I can now get a charismatic animal companion — not just a dog, but something more along the lines of a horse, or a buffalo. I hear that pigs are actually very intelligent, and so that’s an option.

My problem, however, is that I’ve never been good at leveraging such moments for personal gain. I’m going to wind up with nothing more than a new putter. Or maybe a gift card to the car wash. Anyway…there’s more to discuss there, but as I said before, I’m not quite ready to uncurl myself and get up off the floor and share my feelings. The whole “it’s over” thing is very hard to think about without losing control of all the muscles in the face  and blubbering pathetically.

Meanwhile this week we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, my friend Barton Gellman and numerous colleagues have a whopper of a story on the Black Budget, we’re about to go to war, maybe, in Syria. So a typically quiet news week in late August!

I need to get up to speed on Syria, and figure out who, precisely, is favoring a limited air strike, and who is opposed, and who wants a more muscular military intervention, and who wants to land Marines on the beaches (Syria has beaches, right??) and roll to Damascus, and how any of these various policies would square with international law, long-term U.S. national security interests, and long-term Middle East peace prospects. Show me the ways this could turn out well. Question: If the U.N. Security Council won’t act, and Britain won’t join us in a coalition, on what grounds would the U.S. be striking Syria? Self-defense? Explain.

(to be continued…)


Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."



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Joel Achenbach · August 26, 2013

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