Elmer Pratt, the prominent Black Panther known by his nom de guerre, Geronimo ji-Jaga, died at 63 on June 2 in Tanzania. He had served 27 years in prison in Los Angeles for murder, the first eight in solitary confinement, and had been denied parole 16 times before his sentence was vacated and he was freed.
June 02, 2011
-- The Emergency Committee on Israel flip-flops on '67 borders. -- Rick Hertzberg reminisces about his father, Hubert Humphrey, and Vietnam. -- Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry: Romney's problems go beyond Medicare. -- George Lucas strikes back.
May 21, 2011
When I was an undergraduate at Oxford University my tutor—a deeply eccentric but profoundly decent man who claimed to both “loathe this century” and be surprised by the fact that he had lived to see it—had a map on his wall. The map showed the world. The continents were outlined in black on a white field. Shaded red were all of Britain’s former overseas possessions, from India to swathes of Africa to North America.
March 17, 2011
Those showers in Washington last week? That wasn’t rain. That was Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, and the other architects of post-war American foreign policy looking down and weeping on us. Or worse. The heirs and custodians of their tradition never sounded so thick. In place of George Kennan’s 8000-word Long Telegram about the Soviet Union, the Obama administration’s consultant and its former State Department policy planning chief, Anne-Marie Slaughter, issued a forceful tweet about Libya.
March 03, 2011
During the Vietnam war, the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office in Saigon hosted daily press conferences aptly known as the "Five O'Clock Follies." Every afternoon, an officer would step up to the microphone and announce that up was down north was south, and charcoal-gray skies were perfectly blue. The highlight of these tragicomedies tended to be the recitation of "body counts"—daily tabulations of the numbers of enemy killed.
Why Are Republicans Going To Shut Down The Government?
February 23, 2011
It has been fascinating to watch the Republican House hurtling toward a government shutdown. Republican leaders remember well the 1995-1996 shutdown, and understand that it was a devastating setback. And yet they seem unable to avert a recurrence. From a sheer strategic standpoint, it's captivating. It's as if the American military was preparing in 1980 to send troops back to Vietnam. Why are they doing this? The primary driving force is obviously the Republican base.
Trial and Error
February 10, 2011
In January 2007, a Californian named Harrison Jack got a call from a man who introduced himself as Steve Hoffmaster, arms dealer. Jack was a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran whose war tours had involved work with Southeast Asian indigenous groups. He had become frantic about reports of an extermination campaign in the jungles of Laos. The alleged targets were the Hmong, a tribe who had teamed up with the CIA during the Vietnam war to wage a guerilla struggle against the region’s communists.
Today’s News Is Like Yesterday’s: Killings In The Muslim World
January 17, 2011
Actually, I didn’t read this anywhere—no, not anywhere—but in an A.P.
Nixon Disallowed Jewish Advisors From Discussing Israel Policy
December 10, 2010
New documents released today about Nixon and the Jews: Documents released today by the Richard Nixon presidential library contain fresh details on the former president’s antipathy toward Jews, his interest in exposing more details of John F. Kennedy’s policy on Cuba and Vietnam, and his approach to the office that he was eventually forced to resign. Mr. Nixon ordered his aides to exclude all Jewish-Americans from policy-making on Israel, according to formerly classified notes taken by then-chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman on a meeting with the president in July 1971.
The Unwisdom of Crowds
September 06, 2010
Toward the end of Defying Hitler, his extraordinary memoir of the rise of Nazism in Germany, Sebastian Haffner describes how the Nazis had “made all Germans everywhere into comrades.” This, he argued, had been a moral catastrophe. This emphatically was not because comradeship was never a good thing. To the contrary, as Haffner was at pains to insist, it was a great and necessary comfort and help for people who had to live under unbearable, inhuman conditions, above all in war.