19 more words

"For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America." – George W. Bush, Jan. 20, 2004, State of the Union address [Read more...]

Counting the cost

Wednesday before work I hear this report from NPR's Daniel Zwerdling on "All Things Considered" (link is audio only). Zwerdling talks about how little is heard about those wounded in Iraq and does a series of MOTS interviews where passersby consistently underestimate the number of troops injured. Zwerdling estimates the number at around 9,000. He [Read More...]

“Embarrassing,” a “fiasco”

"For those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them." – George W. Bush, May 30, 2003. That was President Bush's statement touting what he said were two mobile "weapons labs" discovered by U.S. troops in Iraq. Subsequent reports — none of which received a fraction [Read More...]

Revolution and reform, part 1

Reinhold Niebuhr is considered one of the greatest theologians and moral philosophers of the 20th century. In other words, nobody pays him any attention any more. That's a shame, since much of his writing remains uncannily timely — particularly Moral Man and Immoral Society, The Nature and Destiny of Man, and The Irony of American [Read More...]

Once more with feeling

The (over-)extended metaphor in the previous post may obscure the links to two worthy articles that I wanted to highlight. Those would be: "Rumsfeld and his 'old friend' Saddam," by Jim Lobe in the Asia Times; and "Winning and Losing," by Philip Gourevitch in The New Yorker. [Read more...]

I know an old lady

I know an old lady who swallowed a cow I don't know how she swallowed that cow … I'm fascinated by stories of exotic invasives — those surprisingly adaptable foreign species like kudzu or the cane toad whose proliferation in a new ecosystem can have devastating consequences. … She swallowed the cow to catch the [Read More...]

Liars and honest fools

The word "alleged" is used far more frequently in newspapers that it is in most aspects of daily life. This is due partly to a commitment to the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." If, for example, a man is arrested after going to a local mall with a video camera attached to his shoe [Read More...]

The Quiet American

Revising and extending my remarks from an earlier comment – Graham Green was a cynical old bastard, but he was not only a cynic. In order for him to describe cynicism so well, he must have had a place to stand outside of it from which to make his deft observations. My favorite Green novel, [Read More...]