The Republicans: From party to primordial swamp

It’s tempting to characterize the ongoing turmoil among Republicans as a partisan “civil war”—tempting, but incorrect. A civil war is a contest between factions for control of a coherent territory. What’s happing to the GOP is closer a shattered window, where dozens of fissures run in all directions and, sometimes, back onto themselves. At the moment, the Republicans’ intramural politics are a kind of primordial swamp with all sorts of toxic elements oozing from the cracks caused by the party’s own internal contradictions. The insurgent candidacies of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, however, are not the cause of the Republicans’ long, slow ...

Note to Donald Trump: Interrogation Under Torture Just Doesn’t Work

Of all the things I ever anticipated about the pursuit of opinion journalism, having to argue against torture was not one of them. And yet here we are again. The Bush-Cheney White House took advantage of the panicked aftermath to 9/11 to make the torture of captured Islamic extremists national policy, and had the CIA put together a secret international gulag in which to work their will out of sight. There’s probably a psychoanalytic explanation for all this—Bush and Cheney’s guilt over failure to prevent the deaths of so many Americans; perhaps panic over the blow to their masculinity delivered by ...