Author: Samuel Moyn
Since the Greeks, we have known of blood feuds of violence and vengeance that repeat in endless cycles, with new rounds only taking the catastrophe further out of control. And since the Greeks, escape routes have been identified and sought — Aeschylus hoped law could provide reconciliation; Jesus later claimed this power for love. But in his disturbing new book, “Spiral,” Mark Danner worries there is no way out of today’s “forever war,” which continues unabated after 15 years.
Danner spares no analogy, classical or modern, to raise awareness of this predicament. In our spiral, he says, we are both like Cadmus sowing dragon’s teeth — our victories produce new adversaries — and like the madcap inventors of a perpetual motion machine that continuously recreates the problem it was designed to solve.
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