Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

‘Banned from public life’: A useful tool?

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on January 19, 2016.

screen-shot-2016-01-19-at-10-05-01-am
screen-shot-2016-01-19-at-10-05-01-am

 

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on January 19, 2016.

I admire French food and culture more than I do French politics, but I do think there is something worthwhile in their practice of “banning from public life.” I saw the phrase whilst reading William Shirer’s Collapse of the Third Republic.

 

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on January 19, 2016.

I admire French food and culture more than I do French politics, but I do think there is something worthwhile in their practice of “banning from public life.” I saw the phrase whilst reading William Shirer’s Collapse of the Third Republic.

I am not sure how this would work in our country. Is one simply banned from running for or holding public office? What about testifying before Congress? Keeping people off TV would run into First Amendment issues, on which I am a fundamentalist.

Still, the practice seems to me a useful compromise between doing nothing or charging someone with a crime. You helped us go to war on false premises? Not a crime, but it should carry some consequences.

Image credit: Bibliothèque nationale de France/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.