The Salman Rushdie Attack and the Protection of Free Speech
Plus, a Terrible Year.
The horrific attack on British-American novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie, who was repeatedly stabbed and severely injured during an event on Friday at the famed cultural center in Chautauqua, New York, is all the more shocking because it stems from a death sentence issued by a religious fanatic more than thirty years ago and widely assumed to be obsolete. It’s as if a long-forgotten monster in a tale of horror awakened and emerged from its lair to make a deadly strike.
The Indian-born Rushdie became the target of a fatwa—or decree—by then-Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in February 1989 because of his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, regarded as sacrilegious by some Muslims (mainly because of a section describing a schizophrenic character’s dream visions reimagining the life of Mohammed). The book was banned in several countries and sparked deadly riots in India and Pakistan, but the fatwa took the backlash to a new level: Labeling the book “blasphemous,” Khomeini called for the execution of Rushdie and anyone associated with the book’s publication and urged faithful Muslims everywhere to do what they could to help carry out the sentence. With a bounty of about $2 million on his head, Rushdie went into hiding and lived under police protection for nearly ten years, moving from place to place until he settled in a fortified safehouse. In July 1991, The Satanic Verses’ Japanese translator Hitoshi Igarashi was fatally stabbed in Tokyo, while Italian translator Ettore Capriolo was beaten and attacked with a knife in Milan.
Magic declassification wand or feds planted the docs? And after a week of attacks on the FBI, will the game now be ‘Blame Merrick Garland?’ Plus, Dominion’s suit vs Fox, Afghanistan one year later, and Cheney’s closing argument. Amanda Carpenter & Will Saletan are back for Summer Monday.
Trump is trying to end Lisa Murkowski’s Senate career, but Alaska’s new ranked choice voting may well save her. Plus, focus group participants keep bringing up abortion, and another Alaskan, Sarah Palin, is attempting a political comeback. Bill Kristol joins Sarah this week — and yes, he talks about his wishful thinking in 2008.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
WILL SELBER: A Terrible Year.
Last June, I flew home from Afghanistan. The dread of Afghanistan’s fate haunted my journey home. I worried that our Afghan allies would struggle without American support. I prayed they would last through the fighting season, giving them time to rearm, refit, and reorganize a long-term defense.
When I landed, I told myself it was time to focus on the next chapter of my life.
Like many military families, my wife and I had spent years apart. We met back in 2016, during my time at Fort Leavenworth. I proposed during my two-year unaccompanied tour to Korea. After our wedding, we spent a year apart while I trained for my year-long deployment to Afghanistan. Midway through my deployment, our daughter was born. I was lucky to be able to come home for her birth before returning to the ’Stan. After four years apart, we were finally going to be a family.
There were more reasons to savor the future. Last July, I assumed command of a 240-man squadron. Nothing truly prepares you for the burden of command. It is a crucible that determines the rest of your career. Flourish, and many doors open. Struggle, and the road narrows.
I savored the rewarding challenges that were in my future. Moving my family across the country for my new gig. Living with my wife for the first time. Commanding 240 Airmen. Figuring out fatherhood.
This year was supposed to be different.
PAUL ROSENZWEIG: Trump’s Investigation Miscalculation.
Donald Trump is making a serious mistake. The FBI’s execution of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago is, he apparently thinks, of great political benefit to him. Perhaps so—I am not one to judge politics.
But public reports also suggest that he may accelerate his re-election announcement in response to the search. Trump seems to think that running for president makes it less likely that he will be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. That’s wrong. The more Trump stays in the public sphere the more likely he is to be prosecuted.
Say what you will about the wisdom of President Gerald Ford’s September 1974 pardon of Richard Nixon, one thing is clear—it was part of an implicit bargain. In exchange for letting his predecessor go unpunished, Ford was purchasing social peace. Rightly or wrongly, he thought that the pardon would put an end to “our long national nightmare.” And that, in turn, was based on the assumption that Nixon would retreat to San Clemente, drop out of politics, and fade from public view.
The mysterious disappearance of William Hughes… And his reappearance and charges of desertion.
Thank you for your service. Thanks to a decades-long effort, every veteran whose name is enshrined at the Vietnam wall now has a photo to go along with it.
Marco Rubio’s fake populism… Is a no match for real history. People see through it.
‘Stop the Steal’ is a metaphor. What the election truthers and the tea party folks share in common.
Arizona’s anti-democracy experiment. Hold on to your butts.
Gregg Abbott’s costly stunt. Texas spent $1,400 per illegal immigrant to bus them to D.C. when commercial buses, or even planes, were cheaper. And Texans are gonna pay for it.
Matt Labash on the Gmail Menace. And how you can prevent newsletters from going into a black hole.
How a California gun law is stifling a young Olympian. And why Gavin Newsome doesn’t see how that’s possible.
NRSC retreating… In AZ, PA, and WI. You hate to see it.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email email@example.com. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.