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The world according to Gatsby: smash things and then retreat

Commentary: The foibles of Tom and Daisy Buchanan remind us of the US government.
Iraq attack 07 19 2013Enlarge
An attack killed two in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, last week. As of early July, 2,600 were killed in Iraqi violence since April, nearly 200 a week. (Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images)
"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that held them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…" F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. Remind you of anything? I re-read The Great Gatsby on a plane flying home from the Middle East a few weeks back. Last time I had read it was about 50 years ago. And suddenly, at 30,000 feet above the Atlantic, anticipatory jet-lag gripping me, I had a revelation: Tom and Daisy Buchanan reminded me of nothing so much as the United States government.

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