Franklin Foer


Moral Hazard

The death threats began shortly after September 11, 2001. Every few days, for about four months, Khaled Abou El Fadl would receive an angry, anonymous phone call at either his San Fernando Valley home or his UCLA office. In his e-mail inbox, he found ominous messages from obscured sources with warnings such as, "You know what we're capable of." At first, the pudgy, 39- year-old professor of Islamic jurisprudence dismissed the calls as harmless outbursts at a tense moment.


Air War

If the bombs begin falling on Baghdad, a broad swath of the TV- viewing world will quickly become intimate with Jane Arraf, CNN's Iraq correspondent for the past four years. Arraf files her reports from the third- floor landing of a blocky white building a few hundred meters from the Tigris River, with the ancient city's minaret-filled panorama behind her. CNN shares the building with the BBC, Associated Press, Reuters, and the handful of other news organizations that have a permanent presence in Baghdad.


Turtle Dove

On September 12, just after addressing the United Nations, George W. Bush lunched with Kofi Annan. According to U.N. custom, such occasions begin with a toast from the highest-ranking delegate from the host nation, and expectations for Bush's preprandial remarks weren't high.


Radical Solution

The brazilian electorate has rebuffed Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva three times over the last 13 years. The last time, in 1998, the presidential candidate of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (P.T., The Workers' Party) lost by 22 percent. But this year may finally be his moment.


Home Bound

It can't be a good omen for Pat Buchanan. The man who will now carry the pitchfork for his "America First" peasant populism is a European aristocrat. Taki Theodoracopulos (or Taki, as he signs his byline), scion to a Greek shipping fortune, will fund and contribute essays to Buchananism's new house organ, The American Conservative (TAC), a Washington-based biweekly set to launch this September. It is, to say the least, an odd match.


Fair Ball

Italy's a wonderful place to honeymoon. Every city has plush hotels with vistas. Every restaurant has extraordinary cuisine. And every television in every bar has soccer. On my just-completed Italian honeymoon, I watched approximately 30 of the 48 first-round matches of the World Cup. My wife and I coordinated our visits to vineyards and duomos so we could catch essential games like Paraguay versus South Africa.


Petty Cash

For employees of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), November 6, 2002, will be a scary day. Parties shed excess staff after virtually every election. But November 6 doesn't just mark the end of an election cycle; it marks the beginning of the McCain-Feingold era. And with the party deprived of the $250 million in soft money it raises every two years, this year's DNC cutbacks could reach "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap proportions.


  It's five miles from Northern Virginia, where the Pentagon sets military targets, and a mile and a half from Foggy Bottom, where the State Department cobbles together coalitions. To look at it, you'd never guess that the ten-story glass-and-steel building at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and T Street, nestled amid the town houses and cafes of Dupont Circle, serves as one of the headquarters for the U.S. propaganda war against terrorism. If it doesn't look like a government office building, that's because it's not. Rather, it houses a public relations firm called The Rendon Group.


Welfare State

The fight over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (anwr) may be over, but it revealed a curious truth: The most zealous proponents of dotting the Alaskan tundra with oil derricks are ... the Alaskans themselves. A poll last year showed that 75 percent of state residents support anwr drilling. The Anchorage Times and Anchorage Daily News both came out in favor of it. And the state's small but noisy congressional delegation--Senators Ted Stevens and Frank Murkowski and Representative Don Young--led the charge on Capitol Hill.


Relativity Theory

Alexander Cockburn isn't a big fan of Israel. The Irish expat's column for The Nation, "Beat the Devil," regularly trashes the Zionist entity. Among his typical criticisms: Israel's American supporters are "the spiritual soul-mates of those fanatical Cuban exiles"; Ariel Sharon's "credentials as a war criminal are robust";the occupation of the Palestinians amounts to genocide.