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On V's 500th Post: The Best of the Last 100

As you may have read on Monday, this week On Violence is celebrating our three year anniversary and our 500th post. As we’ve done before, we’re going to compile a “best of” our last 100 posts. We’ve divided them into our best series and our best individual posts. (To read past “Best of On V” collections, check out the sidebar or click here.)


The biggest stylistic change for On Violence over the last year is our move towards long-form series on a single idea. Probably the most important thing we wrote in the last 100 posts, if not the entire history of the blog, is our series arguing against war with Iran. In addition to a larger paper and an op-ed, expect more posts on Iran coming up in the next few weeks and months.

Next up, we finally wrote about a topic Eric C wanted us to write about since we started the blog, the firebombing of Dresden. Michael C discussed the ethics of civilian bombing campaigns, while Eric C discussed the things we lost in the fires and Matty P looked at Dresden not so analytically.

For our most thought provoking event of 2011, we selected the Arab Spring, looking at revolutions, things getting better, Twitter, American foreign policy and predictions.
Michael C continued harping on the “War is War” philosophy, with posts on “War is War is No Solutions”, “War is War is Heinlein” and “War is War is Politically Unfeasible”.

We also started a personal favorite series arguing for the role of emotion and cultural empathy in counter-insurgencies. While our most popular post in this series was “Getting Rid of the Chicago School of Counter-Insurgency”, our favorite posts were “Everyone Hates Everyone Else’s Soldiers”, “Who Watches the Watchmen?”, and “From the On V Future Archives: When Persia Put a Garrison in Wyoming (in 2048)”.

Finally, and probably least interestingly, we started looking back at our old ideas in a new feature called, “An On V Update to Old Ideas”. We hope to keep this feature going every month or so.


Michael C had three favorite posts. First, he described the Army’s over-emphasis on physical skills over mental. Second, he wrote about the most dangerous branch of al Qaeda, and that it’s run by the U.S. government. Third, he solved the war on terror by proposing a new International Criminal Court, though he doubts it will ever happen.

Eric C’s favorite art posts discussed Kafka, analyzing “In the Penal Colony” and sharing some stray thoughts on Kafka.

The standout memoir of the last 100 posts was Dexter Filkin’s The Forever War. Eric C reviewed it here, and compiled a “The Best of The Forever War” and two “War at its Worsts” collections, here and here.

Matty P killed it with “There’s No Honor in this” and “A Savior Named Barrabas”.

Our dad’s favorite posts were on language. We debunked the pronunciation of Iraq here, and proposed broad societal changes here.