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Gay-Baiting in the Military Under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

AOL's buyout of Time Warner may have been this year's largest new media/old media merger, but in terms of sheer market consolidation, PlanetOut's purchase of Liberation Publications in late March

This is the story of Gato and Alex, two Salvadorans who as children became refugees from America's war in their homeland only to become rivals in America's gang war on the streets of Los Angeles.

Which current candidate for President reversed the abortion stand he
espoused as a Congressional candidate in the seventies and adopted a
position more acceptable to the mainstream of his party

The hopes of many for the birth and sustenance of independent web journalism took a body blow recently when all 140 employees of the APBnews.com crime news site were let go with no warning, as th

The women's liberation movement, as it was called in the sixties and seventies, was the largest social movement in the history of the United States--and probably in the world.

A century ago, as America made clear its retreat from the egalitarian gains of Reconstruction, two powerful voices set out differing agendas for how black Americans should respond to the rise of

It's difficult to get over the idea that we failed Timothy McVeigh and that his execution fails us all. How deceptive a finale it is that leaves history neatly packaged in the cemetery of our imagination, safely removed from the festering reality of life. It happened, it's over, and we can now move on when we ought not to.

By killing McVeigh, we served only the purpose of avoiding responsibility for his creation. How convenient to not have a living reminder that this callow, awkward, unformed youth was a product of mainstream American culture--varnished by the "be all you can be" Army, no less--and not some easily dismissed dropout aberration. No, he was us in our darkest moments, even as we acknowledge gratefully that he was possessed by malevolent forces that the healthy can conquer.

If he was the devil, how did he get that way, this product of a strong Catholic family that raised a son to be a patriot, a son who then suddenly took his own government to be the enemy? What did he learn from us, his neighbors, the media and the government, that left him plotting in seedy motel rooms, manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction, while singing the disturbed loony tunes of the assassin?

His execution is to be denounced because it brings to an all-too-tidy conclusion a phenomenon that cries out for more complex and sustained examination. That's true in any capital case, but all the more so that 168 innocent men, women and children died at his hands, and scores of others were injured. It hardly serves their memory that McVeigh at worst will be venerated as a martyr by generations of lunatics to come and at best be dismissed as a weirdo actor in a script that is not of our hand.

We are told that the grieving relatives of those killed in the bombing need "closure," an unattainable state that has become the basic mantra of denial of harsh reality. It's a word now inevitably accompanied by the horrid phrase of "getting on" with the next phase of one's life, invoked even by McVeigh's lawyers before the execution to refer to their client's "future." But the so-called closure afforded by capital punishment, as some relatives of the dead have noted, cheapens the quest for real healing, which can never be an act of amnesia but rather requires the search for meaning in even the most dastardly of events.

For that we needed McVeigh alive, to be tormented every day in his own mind by the enormity of his crime, to the point where that smug self-righteousness of the killer would be pierced, and he finally would have to confront the pain of mass death as something other than a clinically ordered act of ideological game playing.

But we too, the uninvolved, needed his presence as an open wound to remind us of the pain that political madness, no matter its source, induces. In this case, the madness was, in effect, condoned when an unshaped youth was taught by his government to kill.

It should be a matter of deep national soul searching that we as a nation sent McVeigh to roam the desert on a Bradley fighting vehicle inflicting the "collateral damage" of the Gulf War. Did his military training prepare him to differentiate between what he did as his government's agent in Iraq and his own subsequent war on civilians? The absurdly celebrated mayhem of the Gulf War was the alternative to the college experience McVeigh never had. He was at least in need of a crash course on the distinction between what he called the "collateral damage" of the Oklahoma City bombing and the morality of shooting Iraqi draftees as they fled the battle.

Unfortunately, McVeigh completed his education at desultory gun shows in which patriotism often is equated with a defiance born of personal failure, and fire power is the means to dignity and freedom. That and the literature of angry white men, who believe their skin color and a musket should be all that is needed to make them meaningful players in the computerized global marketplace.

The merchants of madness will now exploit the government's execution of McVeigh as confirmation of their paranoia. Better to have had McVeigh as an aging reminder of how horrible the taste can be when the American brew is curdled.


"Biased" was the term used most often in the scores of letters sent
in response to John Dinges's "What's Going on at Pacifi

A week after she ordered federal agents to seize Elián
González from his relatives in Miami, Republican critics were
snarling, the Miami Cuban community was venting its rage in st

Blogs

The radical ruling virtually assures that the US Supreme Court will take the case.

January 31, 2011

The Comcast/NBC Universal merger has wide implications for all citizens.

January 31, 2011

Last night, Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes challenged Julian Assange on a variety of issues surrounding WikiLeaks, and failed miserably.  But what happened last spring when Assange met a real master of the debate—Stephen Colbert?

January 31, 2011

Who needs the 60 Minutes interview with Julian Assange when you can just read my new book, "The Age of WikiLeaks," and revisit Stephen Colbert's interview with Assange? 

January 31, 2011

Gay Ugandan activist David Kato was beaten to death earlier this week. Now it’s Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan lesbian whose immigration status in Britain is unresolved, with a bull's-eye on her back.

January 28, 2011

ROTC memo prohibiting cadets from using WikiLeaks cables for course assignments could impact Stanford's decision on whether to allow ROTC to return to campus.

January 27, 2011

On the late Daniel Bell, the very archetype of a committed liberal intellectual, and The New Republic's Marty Peretz, plus reader mail.

January 27, 2011

Ugandan activist David Kato was a leading voice against the country's notorious "Anti-Homosexuality Bill"—which was written with the help of three American evangelicals. Now Kato has been found murdered.

January 27, 2011

WikiLeaks in Davos, Anonymous activists arrested, and, for those who get technology, WikiLeaks anonymizes ISPs to get past data retention laws. Oh, and uprising in Yemen.

January 27, 2011

VISA is told WikiLeaks not breaking the law, Anonymous asks for help attacking Egypt websites, and Julian Assange's attorney gets an award

January 26, 2011