Stuff you just gotta read:
David Brooks on McChrystal's sacrifice to the narcissistic and prurient interests of the voyeurs of journalism:
During World War II and the years just after, a culture of reticence prevailed. The basic view was that human beings are sinful, flawed and fallen. What mattered most was whether people could overcome their flaws and do their duty as soldiers, politicians and public servants. Reporters suppressed private information and reported mostly — and maybe too gently — on public duties.
Then, in 1961, Theodore H. White began his “The Making of the President” book series. This series treated the people who worked inside the boiler rooms of government as the star players. It put the inner dramas at center stage.
- Kill The Pulitzers
- My tangent was that even if you could find out, with the proper context what exactly is going on, you're generally not in a position to do anything about it but feel pain, in over your head and desirous of an alternate hero. The biggest problem in the case of McChrystal's sacking is that it has become an event unto itself leaving unanswered questions about what is actually the arc of US policy in Afghanistan. I would like to hear the story about how Obama tried to oust Karzai and why McChrystal became the only one whom Karzai would trust - and the implications therein regarding who fills the power vaccum if and when the Taliban are destroyed. Then again, I'm consuming this from a different perspective...
Christopher Hitchens on the unbearable likeness of haters.
I used to work in Northern Ireland, where religion is by no means a minor business either, and at first couldn't tell by looking whether someone was Catholic or Protestant. After a while, I thought I could guess with a fair degree of accuracy, but most of the inhabitants of Belfast seemed able to do it by some kind of instinct. There is a small underlay of ethnic difference there, with the original Gaels being a little darker and smaller than the blonder Scots who were imported as settlers, but to the outsider it is impalpable. It's just that it's the dominant question locally.
The dominant question locally. Perfect description of American race relations, which by the way I don't care about. Perfect.