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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:
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.”