The US–Saudi Story, by an Aramco ‘Brat’
For years, I believed the myth that Saudi Arabia had not been colonized. I accepted Aramco’s slickly packaged origin story—that the company was a benevolent actor in the Kingdom, working hand in hand with the Saudi people to bring a much-needed commodity to the world.
January 31, 2020
Beyond Afghanistan’s ‘Graveyard for the Living’
Even before President Trump’s bungled diplomacy undercut months of patient effort by his envoy, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the notoriously doctrinaire Taliban have shown little taste for compromise. Their rhetoric, which always tends toward the histrionic, is now triumphalist.
September 24, 2019
The Innocence of Abu Zubaydah
The government has never brought any charge against Abu Zubaydah, in either civilian or military court, presumably because it understands that he has committed no crime. Instead, the United States is content that he should be forgotten, out of sight and out of mind.
September 28, 2018
Getting Them Dead
After reading the article that appeared under the headline “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will” in the May 29 *New York Times*, I couldn’t talk about much else. I found myself wanting to analyze it, as one might dissect a literary text, to better understand how it produced its effect on the reader: in my case, shock and awe, tempered by consolatory flickers of disbelief. Like literature, the story resists summarization, partly because the *Times* reporters, Jo Becker and Scott Shane, employ detail, word choice, diction, and tone to direct and influence the reader’s response without, on the surface, appearing to do so—and to make a familiar narrative seem new.
June 6, 2012
Why Are We Abandoning the Afghans?
What will Afghanistan look like in 2014, after a dozen years of occupation, more than 2,800 NATO soldiers killed, and an expenditure of $1 trillion? If the participants in this week’s NATO summit in Chicago are to be believed, what they will leave behind is little more than a series of fortresses in enemy territory.
May 22, 2012