TIME

THE ENDURING EMPTINESS OF OUR PUBLIC RAGE

RECENTLY A FRIEND ASKED ME, WITH WHAT I thought was a hint of suspicion in his voice, why my writing was so “apolitical.” It’s not the first time it’s happened, but it always surprises me. I’ve written about military policy under both President Obama and President Trump. I’ve questioned what we’re doing and tried to write about what flawed policy looks and feels like to those tasked with carrying it out. To me, this is inescapably and obviously engaged political speech.

But to my friend, a smart guy who nevertheless spends a surprising amount of his time online coming up with inventive ways to crassly insult his political enemies, there was something lacking. Something to do with my inclination to be “unfailingly polite,” as he called it. I try to avoid making

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