The pictures of Muammar Qaddafi’s death have made me reflect, as they must have made many people reflect, on the equally gruesome images of Saddam’s death. Did Qaddafi himself think about Saddam, in those last minutes of his life? My question is speculative, but I do not think it is unreasonable. We do know whom Saddam was thinking about—if not at the moment of his execution, then certainly at his trial in Baghdad, when he came face to face with his impending fate.
I. MY ROLE ON September 11 was to be a reporter for The New Republic. I was in downtown Brooklyn, and from my rooftop I watched the first tower crumble, and then I ran downstairs to the street with pen and notebook and plunged into the crowds fleeing over the bridges. I spoke with one person after another, asking what they had seen. They told me. I compiled my report.
The Dominique Strauss-Kahn case is headed toward a dismally predictable shipwreck, and I wonder what anyone is planning to do about this. The punctilious fair-mindedness of the trial may well turn out to be obvious to everyone who grants the possibility of such thing.
Click here to read Stephen F. Cohen's letter, and click here to read Paul Berman's original article. Perhaps I should have emphasized that Darkness at Noon is a novel, and Rubashov is a fictional character, and, as Michael Scammell has explained, Koestler based his fictional character not just on Bukharin but on other Bolsheviks, as well. And Koestler’s Rubashov confesses not just because of his ideas but because his jailers have subjected him to sleep deprivation.
The death of my friend Jack Diggins has led me to look up my edition of Montaigne in search of the essay on friendship, and I am amazed to see what is there. The essay catalogues and describes the various types of intimate relationships that Montaigne notices in the old Greek and Roman authors--sexual relationships between men and women, and between men and boys; the family relationships of parents and children, and between siblings; the relationship of marriage. And among those several kinds of intimacy, friendship looms in Montaigne's eyes as the purest and best.
The contempt and insults thrown at Hillary Clinton have always loomed in my eyes as flattering celebrations of her virtues, which, for some reason, have been presented upside down, with their feet waving in the air. Devious, is she? Unprincipled? Out for Number One?--so many ways of saying, a canny politician. I cannot imagine that, in American politics right now, canniness is something to dread. Too many people I meet regard this year's election as a referendum on Bush's decisions in 2003. But neither Hillary nor any other Democrat is responsible for Bush's irresponsibility.