Rational Security 2.0: The 'How Many Cs in Accountability' Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by their fellow Lawfare senior editor and Brookings Institution senior fellow Molly Reynolds to hash through some of the week's big national security news, including:

  • “The Butchers of Bucha.” Russian troops who recently retreated from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha appear to have engaged in a weeks-long campaign of violence against the Ukrainian civilians living there, leading some—including President Biden—to call for a war crimes trial. Why would Russia do this? And how should the United States and the world respond? 
  • “To Refer, or Not to Refer, That is the Question.” Even as they rush to get ready for public hearings, Jan. 6 committee members have begun to cast shade on the idea that they will produce a criminal referral of President Trump or anyone else for matters other than contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with its subpoenas. Is this the right move on the committee’s part? 
  • “When Texas Messes with You.” The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety, the first case to seriously test the limits of congressional war powers in several decades. What should we expect from this case? And what will it tell us about how our new Supreme Court views war powers and national security?

For object lessons, Alan brought our attention to the possibility that one can be buried not just in a cemetery but in a living forest. Quinta endorsed a New Yorker article by Rachel Aviv on how an Ivy League university turned on a promising young student with a difficult past. Scott recommended the show "Single Drunk Female," a darkly funny exploration of alcoholism and its aftermath that is set in a menagerie of Massachusetts accents. And Molly noted that the U.S. Census Bureau had recently posted a very searchable version of the 1950 census records, which included the following observation on her own grandfather: 

Here are a few other articles and items we discussed:

  • The television classic "Mork & Mindy," which was a spinoff from Happy Days;
  • Mark Galeotti's discussion of Russian atrocities and military discipline in his podcast "In Moscow's Shadows";
  • Mike Debonis's deep dive in the Washington Post on Congress’s struggle to respond to events in Ukraine