Journal Entry #31

Memory Without History.

NORFOLK, CONN., APRIL 19—When I wrote a column about the Syria bombing a few days ago—filed midday Saturday, published Sunday morning—I argued for the imperative of doubt. It is our responsibility to question—to hold official accounts up to the light and do our best to judge their validity. Depending on our determinations, it then becomes our responsibility to seek the truth of whatever event is at issue, in the case a missiles-and-bombs assault on a sovereign nation in response to an alleged deployment of chemical weapons that is questionable to say the very least.

I want to write further on this question of our responsibilities as they are in this very peculiar moment—peculiar not merely by way of the Syrian disaster, but in our foreign policy altogether and in our public discourse. What follows are things it is essential to say at this moment, in my view. They have to do with our responsibility to history—a point that may seem cryptic but one I will explain.

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