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2008: The Weight of the Past

The New York Review of Books     |    November 06, 2008     |    ESSAY

11_6_08 Panning across the faces of the country"s leaders gathered in the Cabinet Room to confront the "financial crisis" in late September, the camera"s eye moves from the President—looking tired, shrunken, desiccated—to his Treasury secretary and other powerful advisers, and then slowly makes its way down and around the long Cabinet table, trailing over the familiar waxen features of the barons of the Senate and the House, lingering for a moment on the self-consciously resolute face of the white-haired Senator John McCain, and finally reaches the table"s end where it settles at last on the figure of a lean, solitary black man slumped in his seat.
Tags: Obama | Election | US Politics

On Segur's "Defeat: Napoleon's Russian Campaign"

October 2008     |    INTRODUCTION

Segur Some stories, ancient and eternal, are inscribed in the world. The Fall of the Hero is one such, an endlessly reenacted drama that turns on the precariousness of greatness and its inevitable overreaching.
Tags: Napoleon | Segur | Russia | Military History

Sweet Potato Pie in Philly (Web Dispatch)

The New York Review of Books     |    October 16, 2008     |    DISPATCH

Obama_barack-20080717 You would think first of all of a village fair: the entire community of Germantown, Northwest Philly, taking itself up on the brightest of bright sunny fall days and moving en masse, clumps of people—groups of young men in the obligatory hoodies and low-riding jeans, moms pushing strollers, dads lugging car seats, and everywhere children, from toddlers on up, being pulled along ("You'll remember this all your life!")—almost all of them African-American and all melding together, as they crowded toward the entrance to Vernon Park, into a full running, laughing stream.
Tags: Sweet Potato Pie | Obama | Philly | Elections

Weapons of Mass Destruction and Other Imaginative Acts

The New York Times     |    August 27, 2008     |    BOOK REVIEW

Way-of-the-world-190 Scandal is our growth industry. In our era, revelation of wrongdoing leads not to definitive investigation, punishment and expiation but to ... more scandal.
Tags: War on Terror | Bush | CIA | Frozen Scandal | Suskind | Iraq

Taking Stock of the Terror War     |    March 25, 2008     |    LECTURE/ESSAY

Baghdad03 To contemplate a prewar map of Baghdad — as I do the one before me, with sectarian neighborhoods traced out in blue and red and yellow — is to look back on a lost Baghdad, a Baghdad of our dreams.
Tags: Foreign Affairs | War on Terror | middle east | Iraq

Bush: entre la fe y la bravuconeri­a

El Pais     |    November 10, 2007     |    ESSAY/TRANSCRIPT

200px-bush_aznar_crawford_2003 Sin duda, uno de los atributos agonizantes de nuestra era posterior al 11-S es la necesidad permanente de reafirmar realidades que han sido demostradas una y otra vez, y negadas con la misma obstinación por quienes ocupan el poder oficiel
Tags: Foreign Affairs | middle east | american politics | Iraq | Spanish

'The Moment Has Come to Get Rid of Saddam'

The New York Review of Books     |    November 08, 2007     |    ESSAY/TRANSCRIPT

Nyrb_110807_cover Surely one of the agonizing attributes of our post-September 11 age is the unending need to reaffirm realities that have been proved, and proved again, but just as doggedly denied by those in power, forcing us to live trapped between two narratives of present history, the one gaining life and color and vigor as more facts become known, the other growing ever paler, brittler, more desiccated, barely sustained by the life support of official power.
Tags: Foreign Affairs | middle east | american politics | Iraq

Words in a Time of War: On Rhetoric, Truth and Power

What Orwell Didn't Know (Book)     |    November 2007     |    ESSAY

Orwell_cover We pride ourselves in being realists first of all, and thus we know well, or tell ourselves we do, that "the first casualty when war comes is truth."
Tags: american politics | Foreign Affairs | Orwell

War, fear, and truth

Los Angeles Times     |    November 04, 2007     |    OP-ED ESSAY

Orwellfoto1 Perhaps it would have surprised George Orwell, poet laureate of the Cold War, to find himself so much in our thoughts in this second decade of the post-Cold War age.
Tags: american politics | Orwell | middle east | Foreign Affairs

Words in a Time of War (abridged)

Los Angeles Times     |    June 01, 2007     |    OP-ED ESSAY

Being invited to deliver a commencement address to the Department of Rhetoric is akin to being asked out for a romantic evening by a porn star.
Tags: War on Terror | Iraq | Media | Foreign Affairs | Commencement

Words in a Time of War     |    May 31, 2007     |    SPEECH/ESSAY

Bush_commencement When my assistant greeted me, a number of weeks ago, with the news that I had been invited to deliver the commencement address to the Department of Rhetoric, I thought it was a bad joke.
Tags: Media | Foreign Affairs | Commencement | War on Terror | Iraq

Iraq: The War of the Imagination

The New York Review of Books     |    December 21, 2006     |    ESSAY

12_06_cover In the ruined city of Fallujah, its pale tan buildings pulverized by Marine artillery in the two great assaults of this long war (the aborted attack of March 2004 and then the bloody, triumphant al-Fajr (The Dawn) campaign of the following November), behind the lines of giant sandbags and concrete T-walls and barbed wire that surrounded the tiny beleaguered American outpost there, I sat in my body armor and Kevlar helmet and thought of George F. Kennan.
Tags: middle east | Iraq

Bodies Under Stress

July 2006     |    CATALOG ESSAY

Crile In November 2003, barely six months into the Iraq War, Specialist Joseph Darby returned from leave and asked a fellow soldier at Abu Ghraib prison to tell him what had happened while he"d been away.
Tags: middle east | Torture | Iraq

Smoking with Carol

May 04, 2006     |    REMEMBRANCE

When I look back over the many years of conversations with Carol Feldman, I realize that what brought us together, first and foremost, was our vices.
Tags: Elegies and Appreciations | Carol Feldman

You Can Do Anything with a Bayonet Except Sit on It     |    February 26, 2006     |    INTERVIEW

Secretwayhigh-res-1 The phrase I come back to, not only about interrogation but the many other steps that constitute the Bush state of exception, state of emergency, since 9/11 is "take the gloves off."
Tags: american politics | middle east | Iraq

Glimpsing Fritz Stern

February 02, 2006     |    REMEMBRANCE

Fritzstern Scanning my memory for especially telling episodes in my friendship with Fritz has brought much pleasure, for my memories are full of laughter and also, of course - this is after all Fritz Stern - much wisdom.
Tags: Fritz Stern

Taking Stock of the Forever War

The New York Times Magazine     |    September 11, 2005     |    ESSAY

9_11_05 Seldom has an image so clearly marked the turning of the world. One of man"s mightiest structures collapses into an immense white blossom of churning, roiling dust, metamorphosing in 14 seconds from hundred-story giant of the earth into towering white plume reaching to heaven.
Tags: american politics | middle east | Iraq | War on Terror | Foreign Affairs

Iraq's Buried History: The Memo, The Press and The War

The New York Review of Books     |    August 11, 2005     |    EXCHANGE

8-11-05-cover For more than two years the United States has been fighting a war in Iraq that was launched in the cause of destroying weapons that turned out not to exist.
Tags: middle east | Downing Street Memo | Iraq

The Iraq Pretext: Why the Memo Matters

The New York Review of Books     |    July 14, 2005     |    EXCHANGE

7_14_05_cover The great value of the discussion recounted in the Downing Street to show, for the governments of both countries, a clear hierarchy of decision-making.
Tags: Downing Street Memo | Iraq

Humanism and Terror (What Are You Going to Do With That?)

The New York Review of Books     |    June 23, 2005     |    ESSAY

6_23_05cover When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked for a title. I dillied and dallied, begged for more time, and of course the deadline passed.
Tags: War on Terror | Commencement | american politics
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