Five Best Monday Columns

Will Portman on coming out, Reuel Marc Gerecht on the C.I.A.'s interrogation tactics, Ross Douthat on the Iraq War and Obama, Jonathan S. Tobin on the liberal reaction to Fox News, and Glenn Greenwald on racism's influence on the War on Terror.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Will Portman in the Yale Daily News on coming out in the political spotlight "I came to Yale as a freshman in the fall of 2010 with two big uncertainties hanging over my head: whether my dad would get elected to the Senate in November, and whether I'd ever work up the courage to come out of the closet," writes Will Portman, the son of influential Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who on March 15, in advance of this week's hearings at the Supreme Court on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, announced his support for marriage equality, in a column referring to his son coming out to him and his wife in 2011. In today's column, the younger Portman weighs the burden of his father's public life against the opportunity to advance the rights of gay people. "I could certainly do without ... commentators weighing in to tell me things like living my life honestly and fully is 'harmful to [me] and society as a whole.' But in many ways it’s been a privilege to come out so publicly," he writes. "I hope that my dad’s announcement and our family’s story will have a positive impact on anyone who is closeted and afraid."

Reuel Marc Gerecht in The Washington Post on public scrutiny of C.I.A. interrogation tactics In his first days in office, President Obama signed an executive order forbidding the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. But that doesn't mean the country should stop scrutinizing our past use of those techniques, argues Reuel Marc Gerecht, who issues a demand for the release of a 6,000-page classified Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency's controversial interrogation program. "We should all want a vigorous debate about the type of duress — psychological and physical — a liberal democracy is willing to use against captured holy warriors who would down skyscrapers," Gerecht writes, adding, "Americans should assess whether Langley engaged in torture in its war against al-Qaeda. The country’s honor is at stake, not just the competence of its primary intelligence service."

Ross Douthat in The New York Times on how the Iraq War got us Obama How did President Obama rise to the highest seat of the U.S. government? Ross Douthat thinks the answer lies somewhere in the fractured, Bush-era campaign to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein's regime. "History is too contingent to say that had there been no Iraq invasion in 2003, there would be no Democratic majority in 2012," he acknowledges, before investigating how the anti-war movement inspired "a kind of 'movement liberalism' that thought of itself in the same scrappy, ideologically driven terms as the conservative movement." This gave rise not only to Obama, who opposed the Iraq War, but also, Douthat suggests, the decline of social conservatism: "There’s no necessary connection between the Bush administration’s Iraq floundering and, say, the right’s setbacks in the gay-marriage debate," he writes. "But cultural change is a complicated thing, built on narratives and symbols and intuitive leaps."

Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary on liberals' reaction to Fox News It might seem obvious why politically liberal viewers prefer not to watch Bill O'Reilly, notes Jonathan S. Tobin, who wishes to set this revulsion in clearer and more honest terms, and begins with a recent Pew study of the opinion/news mix of cable broadcasts, which found that Fox News offers more straight news than its left-leaning competitor, MSNBC. The state of the media, Tobin argues, "makes Fox's conservative views one of the few places where alternatives to the left can be found." Fox, he argues, challenges a certain kind of media hegemony: "If ... the legions of liberals who blast Fox reporters for not reporting the news from a liberal perspective think there is something wrong about that it is because they ... still think [Fox News Channel President Roger] Ailes has done something wrong in providing viewers with another way of looking at the world."

Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian on racism's influence on the War on Terror According to a new Gallup poll, we don't want the American government killing U.S. citizens "suspected of terrorism," here or abroad — except when that citizen is Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda operative who was dispatched by a drone strike in September 2011. What gives? "Many Americans can (a) say that they oppose the targeted killings of Americans on foreign soil while simultaneously (b) supporting the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen because, for them, the term 'Americans' doesn't include people like Anwar al-Awlaki. 'Americans' means their aunts and uncles, their nice neighbors down the street, and anyone else who looks like them, who looks and seems 'American'," writes Glenn Greenwald, who concludes, "The effort to depict Muslims as something other than "real Americans" has long been a centerpiece of the US political climate in the era of the War on Terror."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.