Means and Ends

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The amount of fail that led us into Iraq is still amazing. And the failure keeps coming. There is something poetic in the fact that all our advanced weaponry, all our high technology, interconnectedness and instant pleasures can not cure us of our humanity. We can bug a man's cell-phone, but can't stop ourselves from hearing what we'd like. 

Surely there are those, watching the events spreading across the Middle East, who will laud themselves as vindicated. It's more likely that they never saw themselves as needing vindication from the start. I don't know. I don't think ends and means are truly separable. The means you employ are often a statement about your true, unstated, ends.


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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