Violence

The current issue of the Century features a remembrance by my mother of my grandfather’s terrifying war experience and its unfolding consequences. Tomorrow the world marks the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, when the world-shaping trauma of the war halted in Europe. My grandfather’s story is only a tiny fragment of the war, his decades of agony only a ripple in its billowing aftershocks. But it is the kind of story that is easily lost as the war recedes from living memory.
May 6, 2015

Some people see violence as an absolute wrong. Others see it as a sometimes necessary evil, with considerable variation as to just how often these times come up. I’m at the dovish end of the latter group: I believe that there are times—not many, not remotely as many as American foreign policy consensus or law enforcement norms would have it, but some times—when a violent action might be the least-bad available option. But a necessary evil isn’t a virtue; “least bad” doesn’t mean “good.”
December 15, 2014

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