From National Journal, right vote, wrong president: Lawmakers who originally supported the war weren't wrong to authorize the use of force in Iraq. They were wrong to trust that President Bush would use that power wisely; and shoot/don't shoot? The kinds of aggressive acts that win battles for the U.S. Military in Iraq can all too easily slide into the kinds of aggressive acts that lead to war crimes. From LRB, it’s the oil: The US may be "stuck" precisely where Bush/Cheney et al want it to be, which is why there is no "exit strategy". What can we still achieve in Iraq? Reconciliation's off the table, but there are other decent ways out. If addressing the nation’s moral obligation entails something other than sending someone else’s kid to fight a misbegotten war, then we are not especially interested. That’s the dirty little secret embedded in the argument of those who say we should continue on our current course.

John Richardson befriended Picasso and has dedicated much of his life to a magisterial biography of the artist. The third volume is about to be published, with a fourth promised. But at 83, will the great obsessive finish his life's work? To every thing, there is a season: Why the fall brings melancholy art. How old masters are helping study of global warming: Paintings of striking sunsets show effect of huge volcanic eruptions on climate. My kid could paint that: Does Marla Olmstead's work belong in a museum or on the fridge? (and more). Whatever the artistic import, images of naked children are now viewed by society exclusively through a sexual filter.

Avery F. Gordon (UCSB): The Disasters of War. From Animus, a special issue on war, including Wayne Hankey (Dalhousie): 9/11 and the History of Philosophy; Floy E. Doull on Islam and the Principle of Freedom; Paul Epstein on Aristophanes on War: Acharnians; and Holly Pike (SWGC): A Woman's War. From 49th Parallel, a special issue on US Hyper-Power; and a review of How America Goes to War by Frank Vandiver. A review of War and Liberty: An American Dilemma: 1790 to the Present by Geoffrey R. Stone. From Monthly Review, a pair of articles on a new form of state: War and criminal law. From EnterText, a special issue on war and society. From Electronic Book Review, a review of The Age of the World Target: Self-Referentiality in War, Theory and Comparative Work by Rey Chow.

From Situations, Jan C. Rehmann (UTS): Towards a deconstruction of Postmodernist Neo-Nietzscheanism: Deleuze and Foucault; Stanley Aronowitz reviews the work of Henri Lefebre; and a review of Fredric Jameson’s The Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia. James Bowman (EPPC): Heroism, Modernism, and the Utopian Impulse. From Cultural Logic, Christopher Kendrick (Loyola): Tendencies of Utopia: Reflections on Recent Work in the Modern Utopian Tradition; Michael Szekely (Temple): Rethinking Benjamin: The Function of the Utopian Ideal; and Maryam El-Shall on Salafi Utopia: The Making of the Islamic State.

The challenges of transhumanism: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson (ASU): Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Philosophical, Religious, and Ethical Considerations. A review of The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever by David M. Friedman. From Technology Review, human-animal cybrids: An interview with biologist Ian Wilnut on his cloning plans for the future. Craig Venter has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth (and a response: This "new life form" is just reassembled car parts). A god of small things: Natural selection in the laboratory creates a new species of virus.

The scary consequences of our mindless indifference to the history of the Constitution: An excerpt from The Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country and Why It Can Again by Eric Lane and Michael Oreskes. Larry Sabato on why we need a new Constitution: The nation has changed since 1787—the founding document has to catch up. Let's abolish the Electoral College: Created to protect the slave states, it is championed now by conservatives who fear the power of America's true majority—it's time to ditch the antiquated way we choose presidents. It's not democracy, it's a sub: Americans seem willing to vote for everything but an actual candidate. Big Business for President: The American presidential candidates are so busy drumming up campaign contributions and grabbing at opportunities to fly around on corporate jets that they have little time left for the people. The presidential primary scam: Why the game is rigged, and why true democracy is only a secondary factor in the nation's rush to nominate the next president.

From America (reg. req.), a review of A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. Sam Harris on the problem with atheism. In Alabama, a civil debate over God's existence between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox. Sparring over things unseen: Hitchens vs. McGrath, a matchup made in heaven? A review of Head and Heart: American Christianities by Garry Wills.  A nation of Christians is not a Christian nation: The founders wanted faith to be one thread in the country’s tapestry, not the whole tapestry. A review of Godly Republic: A Centrist Blueprint for America’s Faith-Based Future by John DiIulio. The National Association of Evangelicals recently met for dinner at the Sheraton in Crystal City. The keynote speaker? Why, the Antichrist himself.

From The Economist, Brussels rules OK: A look at how the European Union is becoming the world's chief regulator. From Der Spiegel, an interview with Timothy Garton Ash: "A clear European voice is missing in the world". Promises countries make to gain entry into NATO or the EU are similar to Mary Poppins’s description of pie crust: Easily made, easily broken. Richard Falk on Turkey's finest hour: The sick man of Europe gets a jolt of life, but will it last? The 2007 general election in Turkey, as much a triumph for democracy as it was for the AKP, may one day be seen as a turning point. Here are 5 myths about sick Old Europe. Archipelago Europe: Instead of two homogeneous European regions — "the East" and "the West" — there are now fragments, enclaves, and islands. Origins and elements of imitated democracies: Throughout the territory of the former Soviet Union, regimes have established themselves behind a democratic facade while concentrating power in the hands of a president, and contrary to their purported stability, all contain the seeds of their own downfall. Despot dilemma: The European Union seems unable to decide how to deal with dictators.

Sanford Levinson (UT-Austin): Slavery and the Phenomenology of Torture. From Boston Review, slave trade on trial: An article on lessons of a great human-rights law success. A review of The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker. Slavery, a shark's perspective: A strange text sheds new light on the true roots of abolition. From NYRB, a review of books on women and children for sale. A review of Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves by Kevin Bales and Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the Global Economy by John Bowe (and more and more and more). While many migrants are forced into sex work, the rescue industry's moral position has hindered their own efforts to stop it, according to a new book, Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labor Market and the Rescue Industry.

From American Scientist, from steam engines to life: what is the state of thermodynamics on the 100th anniversary of the death of Lord Kelvin? A review of The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began by Stuart Clark. A review of The New Time Travelers: A Journey to the Frontiers of Physics by David Toomey. The mysterious dark matter that fills the universe could be made of the same particles that put the "big" in the big bang - explaining both inflation and dark matter in a single stroke. Yale scientists make 2 giant steps in advancement of quantum computing. Why has "some guy in a wheelchair"—Stephen Hawking—been repeatedly crossing in front of us, most recently floating weightlessly in space sans wheelchair, for the past quarter century? Children of the sun: Biochemist Gottfried Schatz follows light across time and space, from the Big Bang to the ocean floor. Chaos Theory Demystified: Physics has been practised, in one form or another, for thousands of years. A review of Why Beauty is Truth by Ian Stewart (and more).