Links for the Day

Brian Cook

1) Perlstein on conservatives and Martin Luther King, Jr. 2) Today's Trib noted that Obama's support among African-Americans has been growing since his win in Iowa, with 80 percent of blacks supporting him in Iowa. A couple days ago, former ITT editor Chris Lehmann had a pretty fiery Guardian piece explaining why. (Hint: The sickening race-baiting by Clinton surrogates might have something to do with it.) 3) Also a couple days ago, Henry Farrell had a fascinating post examining how inscrutability and ambiguous motivations can function as a source of strategic power. Henry writes: If you never issue a direct order, instead allowing inferiors to infer your desires from what you don’t explicitly forbid, you make it extremely difficult for others to hold you accountable for what your inferiors end up doing. This is most likely what happened in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. There likely never were any formal orders to torture and humiliate inmates – instead, there was a diffuse understanding, encouraged by those at the top of the hierarchy, that torture and humiliation were appropriate and acceptable tools of interrogation. I believe the phrase is "read the whole thing."

Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.
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