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The Party Faithful
David Remnick • The New Yorker
The settlers move to annex the West Bank -- and Israeli politics.
“I’ve gone through a pretty crazy weekend,” Bennett told the crowd sheepishly. He reached into his pocket. He took out his iPhone and started to scroll. A banner flanking the stage read, “Something Fresh,” and this moment -- a politician Googling for wisdom while the crowd waits patiently -- was part of the freshness.
“I’d love to quote a wonderful sentence that has been guiding me for years,” he said. “It’s ... Teddy Roosevelt ... where ... ah, yes!”
Bennett looked down at his palm and read from T.R.’s 1910 speech at the Sorbonne on “Citizenship in a Republic,” a chestnut reheated by generations of wounded, righteous politicians -- including Richard Nixon on the day he left the White House in disgrace.
“It is not the critic who counts,” he began. A few Americans sitting near me nodded and smiled. “Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”
GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images
Which Way Did the Taliban Go?
David Roberts • The New York Times Magazine
The Afghan National Army -- and the war in Afghanistan -- look very different when there are no Americans around.
Several hours later, as I shared the bed of a pickup truck with an Afghan soldier who manned a machine gun mounted on the roof of the cab, it became evident that we were lost. The rest of the company was nowhere to be seen, though we could hear them, not far off, exchanging rocket and automatic-weapons fire with insurgents who had fled into the mountains and were hiding behind protective crags, shooting down. The driver sped up one narrow rutted path after another. The paths were hemmed in by rock walls -- a labyrinth of cul-de-sacs -- and the driver grew more panicked and reckless with each dead end. Aside from the occasional night raid, no Afghan or American forces had been to this place in more than a decade. Men stood on top of the walls, watching.
“Where are we going?” I asked the machine-gunner.
He offered the words I had heard time and again -- so often, and so predictably, they could be the battalion motto. The words were invoked in response to such questions as: What is the plan? Who is shooting? Where will we sleep tonight? How many dead?
The words are “Mulam nes” -- “It isn’t clear.”