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Life of a War Criminal

May 1, 2011 Leave a comment

[Robyn Twomey for The New York Times]

Ah, the life of a war criminal in 2011 America. Start wars based on manufactured evidence. Torture people. Then leave office and rake in the money with public appearances in front of idolizing crowds. Plus all those network TV cameos at major sporting events.

If you rank high enough in our country’s government, this is what awaits you. President will do. Vice-president. Secretary of Defense. And Secretary of State.

Condoleezza, life is good. And today you get to be the featured interviewee in the NYT Sunday magazine, with Andrew Goldman asking the tough questions.

I’ve read that people consider you almost incapable of admitting a mistake. What do you consider to be the biggest of your career?
You know, I’ve done pretty well. I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the past that way.

You can’t think of just one?
I’m certain I can find many. It’s just not a very fruitful exercise.

Of course, Obama set the tone on this three weeks into his presidency when he declared, “My view is also that nobody’s above the law and, if there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any ordinary citizen. But that, generally speaking, I’m more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards.”

Bipartisanship at its best.

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Categories: Politics, Torture

A Change in Plans

May 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Ian Frazier reviews John Darnton’s Almost a Family: A Memoir in the current issue of The New York Review of Books. Ron’s View readers will know that I’m a big fan of Frazier. I read all his books, his short pieces in The New Yorker, and his New York Review pieces. But Joel got to this one before I did. He was thus able to pass on to me the warning contained in the review’s opening sentences:

An important thing to know about memoirs is that although there are a lot of them already, there will soon be more. Seventy-six million baby boomers are reaching retirement age. Many of us own computers, and we find ourselves fascinating.

Joel didn’t have to explain why he thought this passage was relevant. He recognized me, I knew he recognized me, and he knew I would recognize myself. At least he was reassuring. When I rued that I was too late, he urged me to hurry up and get in ahead of the tide.

As for Frazier, he saw this coming long ago. He’s my age. We were college classmates. And he had the prescience to publish his memoir in 1994.

Now what will I do when I retire?

Categories: Life, Writing