Daily Archives: November 10, 2003

In Pursuit of Excellence

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Muhammad Ali said it, “I am the greatest of all time!” And then he backed it up with his fists. At least to the satisfaction of everyone who hadn’t seen Joe Louis fight in his prime. Defining greatness, the highest human achievement in the arts and sciences has always been a subjective game floating along on winds of the zeitgeist.

O.K. Shakespeare and Michelangelo are above everybody else but after them? And how do you compare across cultures? Is Dante an objectively better poet than Basho? Sociologist Charles Murray says statistical science can offer proof of who’s the top, the Colosseum, the Louvre, museum of artists and scientists.

Guests:

Charles Murray, author of “Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950″

Bonnie Smith, Professor of History at Rutgers University

Live from Baghdad

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After a week in which some thirty U.S. soldiers died in Iraq, at a time when resistance fighters lob mortar shells into the U.S. compound with impunity, questions about security remain the number one concern for American commanders in Baghdad.

Six months after the war, it’s clear that U.S. military tactics have been insufficient to restrain these attackers, so now the Pentagon and civilian administrators are considering a major reversal of policy. They’re now talking about enlisting senior officers and soldiers of the old Iraqi Army. The Americans say they need to tap into homegrown military intelligence, and the ability of Iraqi officers to lead Iraqi soldiers. But are these men who were once sworn to kill Americans, really ready to serve under the stars and stripes?

Guests:

Brigadier General Doctor Tariq Jasmin Al-Ani

Admiral Raad Fadel, Colonel Hashim Hassan Al

Ken Allard, retired army colonel, military analyst at Georgetown University, and author of forthcoming book, Business as War.