Michael Hayden

Trevor Timm has a piece on Michael Hayden in the Columbia Journalism Review. It reminds me of how the country’s attention seems absolutely off Iraq, Bush, and Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld’s war crimes. I haven’t forgotten.

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Kurt Cochran, great American

How is the national consciousness affected when the US president sounds like a lout? How can we recover from decades of national discourse which is increasingly image-driven and verbally barren?

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Democrats view the CIA more favorably than Republicans

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The United States as Bebelplatz

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.

—Joseph Brodsky, Library of Congress Information Bulletin, 1991, p. 225

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The US is the first country to have stopped growing taller

The BBC:

The US also performs poorly and is on course to have the lowest life expectancy of rich countries by 2030.
The study predicts an average age of 80 for men and 83 for women – roughly the same state Mexico and Croatia will have achieved….
[Society in the US is] very unequal to an extent the whole national performance is affected – it is the only country without universal health insurance.
And it is the first country that has stopped growing taller, which shows something about early life nutrition.

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Enemy of the people

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Trump’s most extraordinary news conference

From the BBC:

Me: Could I just ask you, thank you very much, Mr President. The trouble…

President Trump: Where are you from?

Me: BBC.

President Trump: Here’s another beauty.

Me: That’s a good line. Impartial, free and fair.

President Trump: Yeah. Sure.

Me: Mr President…

President Trump: Just like CNN right?

Me: On the travel ban – we could banter back and forth. On the travel ban would you accept that that was a good example of the smooth running of government…

President Trump: Yeah, I do. I do. Let me tell you about this government…

Me: Were there any mistakes…

President Trump: Wait. Wait. I know who you are. Just wait. Let me tell you about the travel ban. We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision…

Grey line

It was quite the most extraordinary news conference I have attended.

The Guardian:

Trump spent his first solo press conference as president berating the press and dodging any serious questions – and none of it is ever going to be normal

It was an exhausting 77-minute extravaganza, and any five-minute segment would have been enough to make front-page headlines around the world.

Trump said he wasn’t “ranting and raving” during his press conference, and that was correct. The president was confidently unhinged as he spent more than an hour berating the press and boasting without any real basis that “there has never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time”.

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It must be around here somewhere

Finally the president thanked us and we were dismissed. As I was leaving, he smiled and said to me, “You sure Saddam didn’t say anything about where he put those vials of anthrax?” and everyone laughed. I responded that he didn’t and, if he had, the president would have been the first to know. It was a lame response, but I thought his crack was inappropriate considering that the United States had already lost more than four thousand men and women, with tens of thousands injured.

—John Nixon, Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, (New York: Penguin Random House, 2016), 168.

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“This is for 9/11”

… Saddam was out of his depth. He never fully grasped the impact of 9/11, which he saw as something that might bring Iraq and the United States closer together. Since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington were the work of Islamic extremists, Saddam thought the United States would need his secular government to help fight the scourge of Wahhabist militancy.

—John Nixon, Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, (New York: Penguin Random House, 2016), 112.

 

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Happy Valentinstag!

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