It’s unbelievable what people would do to be in power. I know: It happens everywhere. I can’t believe that normal people in their right mind would run for elected position. There has to be something wrong in their value system to go through what they have to go through. What I saw here was much worse: so much humiliation to run for office.
— Vihar Krastev
Escape From Ignorance and Chalga, John Feffer, Focal Points
No End to Atonement in Sight
Germany apparently remains eternally wounded, dependent upon the healing power of remembrance. Germans must live with their trauma and occasionally reopen the wound to prevent it from festering. … “History or, to be more precise, the history we Germans have repeatedly mucked up, is a clogged toilet. We flush and flush, but the shit keeps rising,” Günter Grass concluded in his 2002 novel “Crabwalk.”
‘Our Mothers, Our Fathers’: Next-Generation WWII Atonement, Roman Leick, Spiegel Online
From Marijuana and Heroin in Vietnam to Antipsychotic Drugs in Afghanistan
… there has been a giant, 682 percent increase in the number of psychoactive drugs — antipsychotics, sedatives, stimulants and mood stabilizers — prescribed to our troops between 2005 and 2011. … The data suggest that military doctors may prescribe psychoactive drugs for off-label use as sedatives, possibly so as to enable soldiers to function better in stressful combat situations.
Wars on Drugs, Richard A. Friedman, The New York Times
Iron Lady Surpasses Hitchens’s Record for Most Disrespectful Obituaries of a Brit
… when I was a child she was just a strict woman telling everyone off and selling everything off. I didn’t know what to think of this fearsome woman. … It always irks when rightwing folk demonstrate in a familial or exclusive setting the values that they deny in a broader social context. They’re happy to share big windfall bonuses with their cronies, they’ll stick up for deposed dictator chums when they’re down on their luck, they’ll find opportunities in business for people they care about. I hope I’m not being reductive but it seems Thatcher’s time in power was solely spent diminishing the resources of those who had least for the advancement of those who had most.
Russell Brand on Margaret Thatcher: ‘I always felt sorry for her children’, Russell Brand, The Guardian
Giving the C.I.A. Its Head in Pakistan
[American ambassador to Pakistan Cameron] Munter was reporting daily back to Washington about the negative impact of the armed-drone campaign and about how the C.I.A. seemed to be conducting a war in a vacuum, oblivious to the ramifications that the drone strikes were having on American relations with Pakistan’s government.
How a Single Spy Helped Turn Pakistan Against the United States, Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times
Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy blog Focal Points.