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General David Petraeus gives a fascinating interview to Fox News. Martha MacCallum presents him with the predictable set of Fox-Cheney talking points, and he bats them down with ease one after the other. (Note the rather pained expressions on MacCallum’s face: “it’s not supposed to go this way,” she appears to signal.) Of particular note are his statements about the Geneva Convention. “When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Conventions,” he says, “we rightly have been criticized, so as we move forward I think it’s important to again live our values, to live the agreements that we have made in the international justice arena and to practice those.” But it’s worth watching the entire interview footage below. In an update to my article on the torture pictures at The Daily Beast, I quote a senior Pentagon source describing the controversy about their release. Petraeus argued in favor of release, saying “Let’s lance this boil.” He feared that the damage from withholding the photos would be greater than that from releasing them, because it would fuel suspicions that the photos are worse than they are. General Ray Odierno took the opposing view, and Obama sided with Odierno, although my sources say this is strictly a timing decision, and that Obama fully intends ultimately to release the photos. Petraeus adopts an unusual stance for generals from the Bush era: he believes that the country and the military shouldn’t be worried about speaking the truth, even when it’s painful. This is going to discombobulate some on the right, but Petraeus has already emerged as the most prominent and most influential general of his generation. And he’s a man worthy of close attention, since the media slivers of Petraeus are often a weak substitute for the original thing.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Damages sought, in a defamation suit, by a Chicago landlord from a tenant who complained about mold via Twitter:
The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children.
The Mall of America hired its first black Santa, a real estate company valued Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s North Pole home at $656,957, and it was reported that the price of the gifts from “Twelve Days of Christmas” went up by more than $200 in 2016, to $34,363.49.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."