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Evil but Stupid

One of the pleasures of reading Hersh’s account is the way it elegantly dismantles aspects of the story that seemed suspect from the beginning, and first among these is the notion that bin Laden, had he surrendered, would have been taken alive. “Let’s face it,” the retired intelligence officer told Hersh. “We’re going to commit a murder.”

No Revanchismo

B’s utilitarian assumption was just a version of what we’d all learn later — either in “cost-benefit” analyses (that charged euphemism) in economics and public-policy classes, or else in nonsensical “moral compass” tests in job interviews. B intuited a principle that underlies so many political decisions, from drone strikes to the building of World Cup stadiums. His stupidity was to say it out loud.

Letters

Dear Editors, I used to be a cop in Manhattan. By the close of 2011, I had spent countless hours policing Occupy Wall Street, traversing lower Manhattan alongside people shouting the same five or six things, day after day, accompanied by drums and sometimes brass instruments. In the beginning, there was a nervous anticipation among my fellow officers; we sensed that the protesters had tapped into a zeitgeist. If they could get even a few percent of the people of the metro area to come out on a single day to march, the crowd would be too large to regulate. They would have seized on ideas powerful enough to get the police themselves to join their ranks, and they would be on the path to a revolution.