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This month Washington Monthly offers a special, theme-oriented issue. The editors write:
In most issues of the Washington Monthly, we favor articles that we hope will launch a debate. In this issue we seek to end one. The unifying message of the articles that follow is, simply, Stop. In the wake of September 11, the United States became a nation that practiced torture. Astonishingly—despite the repudiation of torture by experts and the revelations of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib—we remain one. As we go to press, President George W. Bush stands poised to veto a measure that would end all use of torture by the United States. His move, we suspect, will provoke only limited outcry. What once was shocking is now ordinary.
Or perhaps we can call it, as the New York Times does, Bush’s “legacy.” They seem to think that it points to the “legacy” of a “powerful president.” I suspect history will see it differently. It points to a man who disrespects the rule of law, his nation’s most fundamental traditions, and is drunk with power. It points to a man who will be known to posterity as the “Torture-President.”
Contributors to this issue include: Bob Barr, Rand Beers, Peter Bergen, Jimmy Carter,
Steve Cheney, Amy Chua, Richard Cizik, Wesley K. Clark, Jack Cloonan, Chris Dodd,
Kenneth M. Duberstein & Richard Armitage, Eric Fair, Carl Ford, Lee F. Gunn, Chuck Hagel, Lee H. Hamilton & Thomas H. Kean, Gary Hart, John Hutson, Claudia Kennedy,
John Kerry, Harold Hongju Koh, Carl Levin, Richard Lugar, Leon E. Panetta, Nancy Pelosi, William J. Perry, Paul R. Pillar, Tim Roemer. John Shattuck, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Theodore C. Sorensen, William H. Taft IV, Thomas G. Wenski, Lawrence B. Wilkerson and Steve Xenakis. Every piece in it is worth reading, and the whole product is a treasure – and another measure of how low the country has sunk.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”