On February 4, 2002, a Predator drone circled over Afghanistan’s Paktia province, near the city of Khost. Below was al-Qaeda’s founder Osama bin Laden -- or at least someone in the CIA thought so -- and he was marked for death. As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put it later, both awkwardly and passively: “A decision was made to fire the Hellfire missile.
Recently, I was in Homer, Alaska, to talk about my book The End of Ice. Seconds after I had thanked those who brought me to the small University of Alaska campus there, overwhelmed with some mix of sadness, love, and grief about my adopted state -- and the planet generally -- I wept.
French king Louis XV reputedly said, “Après moi, le déluge.” (“After me, the flood.”) Whether that line was really his or not remains unclear, but not long after his death did come the French Revolution. We should be so lucky! Our all-American version of Louis XV, Donald I, is incapable, I suspect, of even imagining a world after him.