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William Kristol gives thousands of Americans hope. He shows us that a mediocrity can find a home as a columnist at The New York Times. His latest column, discussing—well, what exactly is it discussing? It’s hard to make any sense of it. It starts as a justification of Israeli operations in Gaza and quickly transforms itself into a call for war against Iran. The Gaza operation is, after all, just a warm-up. I just came across Joe Klein’s dissection of Kristol’s column in Time:
Kristol is a cagey guy. He benefits from the delusion of Iranian potency. The more menacing and evil Iran seems, the stronger the arguments for the war that Kristol and many other Jewish neoconservatives really want: a U.S. attack on Iran to make the world safe for Israel (as if such a war could or would accomplish that). He comes very close to endorsing that in his last paragraph…
In the end, Kristol’s saber-rattling is the death rattle of a simplistic, extremist ideology that has caused the U.S. great damage. A more sensible, centrist approach to international affairs won’t have the bang or melodrama of military kinetics. It will take time to work, if it works. But it also won’t have the bloodshed and torture that have stained our nation’s history these past eight years.
There are two weeks left. The Neocons may yet get their cherished war—not this silly skirmish in Gaza, but the real war they’ve always wanted, the one with Iran.
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.”