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May 3 buzz: L.A.'s population drop; rethinking Afghanistan

May 3, 2011 | 11:37 am

Most viewed: Southern California's great migration

The editorial board looks at what’s behind the population drop in Los Angeles, Long Beach and other large cities in Los Angeles and Orange counties ...

According to the latest census data, there's been a great migration in Southern California over the last decade — a movement that has pulled people from Los Angeles and Orange counties and transplanted them in the Inland Empire. Many moved for the jobs, especially in the booming housing construction industry; others moved to grab one of those houses as prices closer to the ocean soared beyond reach. Working-class and immigrant families sought affordable housing in less crowded communities where schools would be better and neighborhoods safer.

... and offers suggestions for what's needed to get back on track.

Most commented and shared: Echoes of a bygone war

Recalling the similarities between World War I and today's wars, San Francisco-based author Adam Hochschild asks:

Was [World War I] worth it? Of course not. The near-starvation of Germans during the war, their humiliating defeat and the misbegotten Treaty of Versailles virtually ensured the rise of the Nazis, along with a second, even more destructive world war and a still more ruthless German occupation of France.

He asks the same question about the war in Afghanistan.

War has a tendency to produce lofty rhetoric. A French newspaper at the time called World War I a "holy war of civilization against barbarity," while a German paper insisted the war was necessary to stop Russia from crushing "the culture of all of Western Europe."

And so it still goes. Today's high-flown war rhetoric naturally cites only the most noble of goals: stopping terrorists, eliminating weapons of mass destruction, spreading democracy and protecting women from the Taliban. But beneath the flowery words, national self-interest is as powerful as it was almost 100 years ago. Does anyone think that Washington would have gotten quite so righteously worked up in 2003 if, instead of having massive oil reserves, Iraq's principal export was turnips?

 Reaction to Hochschild’s Op-Ed on our discussion board is mixed.

 On the one hand, there's reader rusoviet, who says:

[O]ver sixty-six years of peace in Europe thanks to NATO resisting the Reds and preventing a war - thank you USA and UK.

On the other, there's Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve:

Needless war. That pretty much describes the war in Iraq. Over 4000 KIA and over 20,000 wounded. Over 100,000 Iraqis dead. A civil war between two religious factions. Untold cost. 

After 10 miserable years, we are just now getting to the point where we can withdraw our forces.  

And as soon as that happens, Iraq will no doubt drift back into civil war, dictatorship, oppression, coups and massacres. Which pretty much describes Iraq's history. 

The damnable hubris of the Bush Administration and its cadre of neo-con fools.

*Spelling and formatting were corrected in comments for clarity.

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--Alexandra Le Tellier

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