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David's Must Reads - March 24, 2013

The Modern King in the Arab SpringJeffrey Goldberg profiles King Abdullah II of Jordan in The Atlantic.

  • "Amid the social and political transformations reshaping the Middle East, can Jordan's Abdullah II, the region's most pro-American Arab leader, liberalize his kingdom, modernize its economy, and save the country from capture by Islamist radicals?"

Shadow of Roe v. Wade looms over ruling on gay marriage - Adam Liptak writes in the New York Times about the lesson's learned from the Supreme Court's Roe. v. Wade decision and how it could impact the same-sex marriage debate happening this week. 

  • "When the Supreme Court hears a pair of cases on same-sex marriage on Tuesday and Wednesday, the justices will be working in the shadow of a 40-year-old decision on another subject entirely: Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion. Judges, lawyers and scholars have drawn varying lessons from that decision, with some saying that it was needlessly rash and created a culture war."

After a decade of war, troops still struggling to find work - Greg Jaffe writes in the Washington post about Capt. Mike Bolton who helps other Oklahoma National Guard officers find work after returning from deployment. 

  • "This is what the end of a decade of war looked like in Oklahoma a few weeks ago: ex-soldiers in cheap new business suits; human resources managers with salesman smiles and stacks of glossy fliers; a former Marine speaking to a television news crew about the “tough times” and “nightmares” he has had since coming home. ... Everyone says they want to hire veterans. ... Here in Oklahoma, Bolton knows better. When hiring managers flip through his binder of résumés, they aren’t thinking about whether the nation has an obligation to its combat veterans. They are weighing whether they can really afford to take on one more employee in this uncertain economy, whether it makes sense to wait just a few more months."

Iraq: 10 years later - The Financial Times' Middle East editor Roula Khalaf examines Iraq 10 years after the U.S. invasion and finds "the country is still struggling to find its future."

  • "What I leave behind are two different Baghdads. The first one belongs to a people tired of conflict and eager for a normal life that goes beyond the ability to consume and talk freely: in this Baghdad desperate people have been forced to turn to party and tribe for guidance. The second Baghdad hides behind concrete blast walls: it is a city inhabited by greedy politicians struggling for control of the state. For this political class, sectarianism and patronage are the only means of survival."

No More Drones for CIA - Newsweek special correspondent Dan Klaidman writes an exclusive story in The Daily Beast on the transitioning of the CIA's drone program to the Department of Defense. 

  • "Three senior U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast that the White House is poised to sign off on a plan to shift the CIA’s lethal targeting program to the Defense Department. The move could potentially toughen the criteria for drone strikes, strengthen the program’s accountability, and increase transparency. Currently, the government maintains parallel drone programs, one housed in the CIA and the other run by the Department of Defense. The proposed plan would unify the command and control structure of targeted killings and create a uniform set of rules and procedures. The CIA would maintain a role, but the military would have operational control over targeting."

Competing aims in gun control debate - The Boston Globe's Calvin Hennick looks at the gun control debate through the eyes of three men with different views of how it should be approached. 

  • "Jim Wallace taught his daughter how to hunt when she was 11. John Rosenthal owns two shotguns that he uses for skeet shooting. Jesse Cohen collects historical weapons. The three men have very different ideas on how firearms should be regulated, and all three are making their voices heard in the gun-control debate roiling Massachusetts and the country."

BRACKETOLOGY: David's Bracket...