Monday, September 1, 2008

Update


I have not posted much as of late for a variety of reasons. Susan and I moved in late mid-July to Philadelphia, and it took a number of weeks to get settled in. Overall, the move went very well-nothing broke, the row house holds all of the books just fine, and that cat is doing well. I'll post some facebook photos up in a few days to show the latest round of projects that I have done around the house.

The job hunt is also taking a good amount of time. While I don't have a job yet, I have had a number of interviews, and hopefully something good will open up soon. I am hoping that September will yield some fruit from all the work done in August.

In the midst of all these changes, I have been able to read some good books. Last night I finished Paul Theroux's The Pillars of Hercules, which is a travel narrative written 13 years ago. Theroux, who is a prolific travel writer, travels along the entire coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, and offers a rather sarcastic perspective on modern-day tourism, as well examining what other travel writers have written about their journeys around the Mediterranean. A good read.

A few weeks earlier I also read two books regarding the Bush Administration's post-2001 strategy regarding terrorism. The first, Jane Mayer's The Dark Side, was a sobering look at the Administration's legal reasoning behind the authorization of torture and its disregard for military law in current combat operations. The Dark Side is a slow read, but well worth the time. The other book, The Challenge, focuses on one case from this period, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Hamdan, a Yemeni citizen who happened to be Bin-Laden's driver, was used by the Bush Administration as a test run in its efforts to conduct military tribunals. A motley crew of a Navy JAG, a Georgetown Law Professor, and a law firm interested in meeting its pro bono obligation, succeed in winning legal rights for detainees at Gitmo. Both books made me keenly aware of how the United State's reputation has been shattered over the past seven years, even though since the American Revolution the US had a policy of treating prisoners well to prove the high moral standing of the new nation. This policy continued through WWII, and the United States was one of the leading proponents for the Geneva Convention guidelines for humane treatment of prisoners. Even during the Cold War this policy was followed. Let's hope that we follow it again come January 2009.

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