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Ordered to Kill, Part 1 of 3: What type of person commits an atrocity?

Photo from

On March 16, 1968, American helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson Jr. was flying over the South Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai when he noticed a ditch filled with bodies. He then watched in horror as a U.S. Army Captain shot an unarmed Vietnamese woman at close range. Thompson immediately landed his helicopter and confronted the Americans, “…these are human beings, unarmed ... Read More »

Self-Immolation as Political Protest: Powerful Beginning or a Tragic End?

Malcolm Browne, 1963

In June 1963, a Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, committed suicide by lighting himself on fire to protest religious discrimination by the South Vietnamese regime of Ngo Dinh Diem. Journalist David Halberstam, who witnessed the act, described his reaction as being “too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think.” When President ... Read More »

When could a conspiracy theory be true?

TimeOut Chicago

As Ahsan’s affirmative action hire for this blog, I know little about Pakistani politics, even less about football, and all I know about Younis Khan is that Farooq bares an unhealthy obsession with him. What’s more, I’m currently knee deep in historical research for my dissertation, so I’ll limit my occasional contributions to random musings on political/historical events that I ... Read More »

The End of Ricky P. Bush


And so it happens. George W Bush has finally left. And as he bows out, as he turns away from the mics and walks off the stage, there is a sense of empathy. Perhaps even pity. He cut a sad figure didn’t he, near the end? You had wished that it would end for him, but you could finally, wistfully, ... Read More »