The Things He Carried

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Cross is linked to Christ not only on a superficial level—they share initials and are both connected to the idea of the cross—but also in the nature of his role. Like Christ, who suffers for his fellow men, Cross suffers for the sake of the entire platoon. In the same story, he makes a personal sacrifice, burning the letters from Martha so that her presence will no longer distract him. In each case, Cross makes a Christ-like sacrifice so that his fellow men—Norman Bowker and Kiowa, in this case—can carry on without being crippled by grief and guilt.

We were in the clear. But what did we prove? The ID triangle: before a passenger boards a commercial flight, he interacts with his airline or the government three times—when he purchases his ticket; when he passes through airport security; and finally at the gate, when he presents his boarding pass to an airline agent.

See a Problem?

To slip through the only check against the no-fly list, the terrorist uses a stolen credit card to buy a ticket under a fake name. You give your real ID, and the fake boarding pass with your real name on it, to security. This called for a visit to TSA headquarters. The headquarters is located in Pentagon City, just outside Washington. Kip Hawley, the man who runs the agency, is a bluff, amiable fellow who is capable of making a TSA joke. I raised the subject of the ID triangle, hoping to get a cogent explanation. This is what Hawley said:. I thought.

He leaned back in his chair. There are vulnerabilities everywhere, in everything.

Tim O’Brien Interview: The Things He Carried

Well, what are you doing about it? So you have to put other layers around it, other things that will catch them when that vulnerability is breached. This is a universal problem. In other words, the TSA has no immediate plans to check passengers against the no-fly list at the moment before they board their flight. Hawley said that boarding passes will eventually be encrypted so the TSA can follow their progress from printer to gate.


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Nor does it plan to screen airport employees when they show up for work each day. So the idea that we would spend a whole lot of resources putting a perimeter around that, running every worker, 50, people, every day, through security—why in the heck would you do that? Because all they have to do is walk through clean and then have someone throw something over a fence.

The Things They Carried

I asked about the depth of background screening for airport employees. He said, noncommittally,. How, I asked, do you explain that to the public in a way that makes sense? Auden as a teenager, catching lectures at Cambridge when he was a mere schoolboy, meeting famous dons as a student at Oxford including the Marxist historian Christopher Hill and the great classicist Maurice Bowra , and hanging out with Martin Amis and other up-and-coming young writers in his early years as a Fleet Street journalist.

She loved books and yearned for metropolitan culture; she wanted her son Christopher to have the best of British schooling and to become an English gentleman Hitchens chortles at the second of these aspirations. Not long thereafter Yvonne and the man, her lover, were found dead in Athens: they had apparently entered into a suicide pact. After her death Hitchens discovered that his mother had lived her whole life without revealing her Jewish ancestry.

Guttural Defect- The Things He Carried

He devotes a grim section of his memoir to exploring his family roots in Poland. This includes a haunting description of a desolate little town with no surviving relatives, all roads leading to Auschwitz. Hitchens relates his adventurous life as a foreign correspondent, including the glamour that Yvonne would have loved but also the terrible darkness of wartime Iraq and Sarajevo. Becoming one of the best polemical essayists in the language has been a very long and circuitous journey for Hitchens. At first, he was the young socialist taking aim at the usual targets of the Left—Kissinger, the Nixon administration, Salazar, London racists.

In later years, his range became wider and more idiosyncratic. Much of his work is distinguished by intellectual subtlety and a terrible honesty.

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He remains critical of Israel, for example, and in the culture wars he is unmistakably still a man of the Left. The two were once great friends who often talked about English literature, but something went very wrong and Hitchens refuses to prettify the picture. One of the pioneering scholars of his generation—and a generous-spirited man and teacher—Said was nevertheless capable of weird descents into fanatical rhetoric, at least according to Hitchens.


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When Hitchens called him out on this, the friendship ended. Was Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Should Mother Teresa have been a high-tech hospital administrator instead of a humble comforter in a sari?


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