Quote of the day

"A market is a place set apart for men to deceive each other"
— Anacharsis

Theorizing The Drone

A philosopher explores the tactical and ethical implications of drone warfare. Interesting throughout. The drone pilot is the opposite of the kamikaze or suicide bomber. The drone pilot cannot be killed; the suicide bomber is certain to die. Both disturb our moral sense of what is acceptable in war, because neither is risking retribution. The drone pilot is far out of reach; the suicide bomber is already dead (7,700 words)

Unclimbable

Diary of an expedition into the Cirque of the Unclimbables, a remote ring of mountains in Canada’s Northwest Territories “sacred to serious rock climbers”, reached by floatplane from the Yukon. “You fly until the flat forested land pushes up into toothy gray mountains, glaciers peeking around the sharp edges of the spires, and the pilot cheerily reminds you that any mistake out here will result in all of your deaths” (7,800 words)

Sepp Blatter Is A Genius

Fifa boss Sepp Blatter understands international football better than any player or country or fan. He is “friendly, multilingual and has no ideology. He always remembers his guests’ names”. He knows that the emotions which drive the World Cup have nothing to do with sport: They are arrogance, and vanity, and corruption, and greed. He is happy to accommodate. He, and Fifa, care “only about naked power and money” (881 words)

Hell Sucks

“Very possibly the greatest war story ever published in Esquire“, says Esquire — and why stop there; Michael Herr’s reports on America’s war in Vietnam, compiled later as Dispatches, are some of the greatest war stories of all time. “We are not really a particularly brutal people, certainly no more brutal now than we’ve been in other wars, but our machine is devastating. And versatile. It can do almost everything but stop” (7,600 words)

Waterloo: A Near-Run Thing

Discussion of books about the Battle of Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell, Tim Clayton and Patrick O’Keefe, published as the bicentenary approaches. The stakes were immense at Waterloo and so was the slaughter. Out of 200,000 combatants, 50,000 died. Napoleon at his best might have won; but he was tired and his staff-work was poor. Even so, as Wellington said, it was “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life” (1,470 words)

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