The Punishment of David Hicks

On or about 11 January 2002, a small, slender 26-year-old Australian named David Hicks, recently captured fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan, was one of the first detainees flown to Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As a high-school dropout, former drug addict, sometime car thief, mercenary soldier in Kosovo, Taliban fighter against America, graduate of four Al Qaeda terrorist-training courses and an unconvincing convert to radical Islam, Hicks seemed to many the despicable face of global terror. Within days, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld branded the 700 Guantanamo detainees “hardened criminals willing to kill … for their cause” and swore to keep them there indefinitely. Prime Minister John Howard seconded that view, saying of Hicks: “He knowingly joined the Taliban and Al Qaeda. I don’t have any sympathy for any Australian who’s done that.” On 18 January, Attorney-General Daryl Williams backed the prime minister’s position: replying to a plea […]

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, foreign policy analysts have struggled to find a term to characterize the epoch we now inhabit. Although the “Post-Cold War Era” has been the reigning expression, this label now sounds dated and no longer does justice to the particular characteristics of the current period. Others have spoken of the “Post-9/11 Era,” as if the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were defining moments for the entire world. But this image no longer possesses the power it once wielded—even in the United States. I propose instead another term that better captures the defining characteristics of the current period: the Post-Abundance Era. If there is one thing that most inhabitants of the late 20th century shared in common, it was a perception of rising global abundance in virtually all fields: energy, food, housing, consumer goods, fashion, mass culture, and so […]