Magazine June 22, 2009, Issue


Former President Barack Obama speaks to the media, Washington, D.C., January 6, 2009. (Jason Reed/Reuters )

Specifically Unintended

Although I often agree with Andrew C. McCarthy on the issue of terrorist detainees, I believe he is mistaken in his accusation of hypocrisy against the Obama administration on the issue of torture and “specific intent” (“Torture Is a State of Mind,” May 25).

McCarthy first distinguishes between the legal concepts of “general intent” and “specific intent.” These correspond to what in moral philosophy would be called “foreseen-but-unintended consequences” and “what is directly intended.” A classic example of the distinction is the difference between removing a cancerous uterus knowing that the unborn fetus within will die, and a direct abortion.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


How It Was

A review of Right Time, Right Place: Coming of Age with William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative Movement, by Richard Brookhiser.

The Other O’Connor

There was another Catholic novelist named O’Connor at work in the Fifties and Sixties, and for a time he was both better known and vastly more popular.