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Standing Tall for Tyranny

The Department of Justice has persuaded the Supreme Court to take a look at Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd, in which it argues that former attorney general John Ashcroft cannot be sued…

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Pushkin – The Bronze Horseman

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Grossman – Russia’s Freedom Deficit

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Aftermath: Six Questions for Nir Rosen

Most American war reporting stretches from the corridors of the Pentagon to embeds with the troops. It rarely offers a street-level view, and almost never the perspective of the civilians…

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Why Holder Defends DADT

Former Bush-era Solicitor General Paul Clement, the only senior Justice official to survive when the U.S. attorneys scandal and related troubles brought down the entire senior echelon of the Gonzales…

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Another Chapter in the Justice Department’s State-Secrecy Charade

ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer has an important story on a court opinion issued in the case of Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a man imprisoned for seven years in Guantánamo. Judge…

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Inside a Secret DOD Prison in Afghanistan

In a new report (PDF) by the Open Society Institute, human-rights researcher Jonathan Horowitz contrasts the official prison system that the Pentagon has constructed in Afghanistan—where they often arrange press…

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Life and Fate

In the current issue of Foreign Policy, Leon Aron has a moving essay on one of the Russian literary masterworks of the last century, Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate (?????…

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Dante – The Curse on Those Who Do Nothing in the Face of Evil

“Maestro, che è quel ch’i’ odo? e che gent’è che par nel duol sì vinta?”. Ed elli a me: “Questo misero modo tegnon l’anime triste di coloro che visser sanza…

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Aristotle – The Wisdom of Silenus

“You, most blessed and happiest among humans, may well consider those blessed and happiest who have departed this life before you, and thus you may consider it unlawful, indeed blasphemous,…

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Psychologists and Torture

A former president of the American Psychological Association and the current director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Martin Seligman is one of the field’s preeminent…

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A Kidnapping in Milan: Six Questions for Steve Hendricks

Steve Hendricks, an investigative journalist who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee and Helena, Montana, has just published A Kidnapping in Milan, his in-depth study of the botched CIA renditions operation in…

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The “Ground Zero Mosque” of 1785

Friday’s New York Times offered a bit of local history courtesy of Father Kevin V. Madigan, the pastor of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in lower Manhattan. When St. Peter’s…

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Keats – Ode to Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To…

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Burton – Conscience and Melancholy

The last and greatest cause of this malady [melancholy], is our own conscience, sense of our sins, and God’s anger justly deserved, a guilty conscience for some foul offence formerly…

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Nobel Peace Prize for Liu Xiaobo

In a brave gesture sure to evoke the ire of Beijing’s octogenarian autocrats, the Nobel Prize for Peace has been awarded to the Chinese literary critic and essayist Liu Xiaobo.…

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Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan Fueling the Taliban, Senate Report Concludes

The American decision to rely more heavily on contractors and to downplay the use of uniformed military in Afghanistan has led to a sharp detour in the process of nation-building,…

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Compensating Victims of Torture Should Be a Two-Way Street

When American citizens are victims of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading teatment by foreign governments, the United States sometimes presses their claims to compensation aggressively, under the Convention…

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A Question of Approach

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of State issued an unusual Europe-wide travel advisory, and U.S. counterterrorism officials, speaking off the record, were talking it up as an enormous new…

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A Coda to “Casino Jack”

Alex Gibney’s new documentary, “Casino Jack and the United States of Money,” surveys the rise and fall of Jack Abramoff. Few aspects of this film are better than its coverage…

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The Secret World of Extreme Militias

Bart Gellman’s cover story in the current issue of Time is essential reading. One of the premises of the post-9/11 security environment is that small bands of dedicated activists can…

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The Mendacity of Hope: Six Questions for Roger D. Hodge

Former Harper’s Magazine editor Roger D. Hodge has just published what may well be the definitive critique of the Obama presidency from the left: The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama…

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News That’s Unfit to Print: UN Report on the Flotilla Deaths

The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed an expert panel to look into the deaths resulting from the August 10 May 31 Israeli interception of a flotilla of vessels bringing…

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A Footnote on Quirin

A number of readers have written asking questions about the construction I put on Ex parte Quirin in a recent post about the al-Awlaki case. Do I really believe that…

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Hölderlin – Evening Fantasy

Vor seiner Hütte ruhig im Schatten sitzt Der Pflüger, dem Genügsamen raucht sein Herd. Gastfreundlich tönt dem Wanderer im Friedlichen Dorfe die Abendglocke. Wohl kehren itzt die Schiffer zum Hafen…

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Mah?bh?rata – The Warrior’s Duty

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Justice After Skilling

In the Skilling (PDF) case, the Supreme Court, moved by a skeptical view of the Justice Department’s use of “honest-services theft” theories to prosecute corruption cases, sharply hemmed in the…

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