A review of Frank Costigliola’s biography, Kennan: A Life between Worlds
Amid the blaring, pulsating hype of American culture, every election
By doubling down on Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen, Republicans are making their base angrier, more radical, and more likely to turn to violence.
The New York Review of Books
Trumpism is driven by cruelty and domination even as its rhetoric claims grievance and victimization. The attack on the Capitol showed that Donald Trump’s army of millions will not just melt away when he leaves office.
A riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma” — Churchill’s comment about Soviet motivations floated into my mind as I read Philip Zelikow’s elegant and powerful analysis of American “Codes of Conduct” during our Twilight War. We as Americans stand today before a terrible and indisputable fact—that, as Mr. Zelikow puts it, “for the first time in American history, leaders of the U.S. government carefully devised ways and means to torment enemy captives.” And though we know an immense amount about how this came to happen—the plot lines of who did what to whom, who wrote the memos and who was “tormented” and how, who was smashed repeatedly against walls, who was crushed into tiny confinement boxes, who was waterboarded and how many times—we know relatively little about how the momentous decision came to be made.
Let me begin with what today has been a key word: amnesia. It is a striking word, and it makes a provocative point. When it comes to torture as practiced by the United States during the war on terror, there is certainly amnesia and an ongoing quest on the part of some to encourage and cultivate it.
We are living in the State of Exception. We don’t know when it will end, as we don’t know when the War on Terror will end. But we all know when it began.
40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering Chez
In the weeks after 9/11, Americans began torturing prisoners. At
Recovery can come only with vital, even heroic, outside help; but such help will do little to restore Haiti unless it addresses the manmade causes that lie beneath the Haitian malady.
When it comes to torture, it is not what we did but what we are doing. It is not what happened but what is happening and what will happen. In our politics, torture is not about whether or not our polity can “let the past be past”—whether or not we can “get beyond it and look forward
The first paradox of the torture scandal is that it is not about things we didn’t know but about things we did know and did nothing about. Beginning more than a half-dozen years ago, Bush administration officials broke the law and did repugnant things to detainees under their control. But if you think that the remedy is simple and clear — that all officials who broke the law should be tried and punished — then ask yourself what exactly the political elite of the country has been doing for the last five years. Or what it has not been doing. And why.
Wir glauben, dass Zeit und Wahlen unsere gefallene Welt reinwaschen werden, aber das werden sie nicht. Seit November scheinen sich George W. Bush und seine Regierung mit zunehmender Geschwindigkeit von uns entfernt zu haben, ein dunkler Komet auf dem Weg zum Ende des Universums.
We think time and elections will cleanse our fallen world but they will not. Since November, George W. Bush and his administration have seemed to be rushing away from us at accelerating speed, a dark comet hurtling toward the ends of the universe.
We move on to a breaking story, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluding in a secret report, yes, it was two years ago that the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners “constituted torture” in violation of the Geneva Conventions—the findings based on interviews with prisoners once held in the CIA’s secret black sites.
On a bright sunny day two years ago, President George W. Bush strode into the East Room of the White House and informed the world that the United States had created a dark and secret universe to hold and interrogate captured terrorists.