The Sept. 11 Canon: Week 1

Right Makes Might 
New books dissected over email.
Nov. 6 2001 4:42 PM

The Sept. 11 Canon: Week 1

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

But wait a minute, Judith: Nobody said stop working on the defensive side. Nobody said stop developing vaccines or (back to kicking the CIA around) become totally negligent in the spycraft that should have alerted us much sooner to the Russian and Iraqi threat. The defensive work was not sunk by 1960s idealism. It was sunk by the sharper, faster wheeler-dealers at the Pentagon bazaar who saw more bucks in shiny weapons systems than in vials of vaccine.

Advertisement

Don't underestimate the effect of the heroic, idealistic, moral gesture. Sometimes, right is might. I think it is entirely arguable that the reason the Russians and the Iraqis never unleashed their dreadful arsenals is that they were in some way "infected" by the rightness of the U.S. stance: The U.S. Renunciation created an atmosphere of dreadful consequence and condemnation in which it became internationally unacceptable to do it. And remember, as Germs points out, the Iraqis kicked their germ program into high gear after they witnessed the huge international shrug of indifference to their use of poison gas on Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians.

States, even rogue ones, mostly act according to logic and self-interest. Free-lance fanatics are a different story, and that's why it's cults like Aum and the Rajneeshees who have actually done the unthinkable. 

 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 8:15 AM Ted Cruz Will Not Join a Protest of "The Death of Klinghoffer" After All
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 16 2014 12:15 PM “Human Life Is Frightfully Cheap”: A 1900 Petition to Make Lynching a Federal Offense
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 9:03 AM My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. And Then I Found Myself With Someone Like Dad.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 8:27 AM Only Science Fiction Can Save Us! What sci-fi gets wrong about income inequality.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.