November 12, 2001
ON THE AFTERNOON of September 26, George W. Bush gathered 15 prominent Muslim- and Arab-Americans at the White House. With cameras rolling, the president proclaimed that “the teachings of Islam are teachings of peace and good.” It was a critically important moment, a statement to the world that America’s Muslim leaders unambiguously reject the terror committed in Islam’s name. Unfortunately, many of the leaders present hadn’t unambiguously rejected it. To the president’s left sat Dr.
October 08, 2001
Among the popular explanations for September 11's cunning, devastating attacks on the United States is American support for Israel. The argument runs like this: If the United States had not aided and abetted the Muslim world's primary enemy, we would not have become Islam's enemy ourselves, and therefore would not have been a target for reprisals. That argument, however, is a dodge.
September 24, 2001
Hiding out somewhere in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden must be a happy man. U.S. officials have identified him as the principal suspect in the disasters visited upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And there are several reasons why. First, the operation required recruits sufficiently well-motivated that they were prepared to commit suicide. Bin Laden's group, Al Qaeda ("the base"), employed suicide bombers in the 1998 attacks against two U.S. embassies in Africa and in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen eleven months ago.
July 23, 2001
In 1967, at the height of the Six Day War, Israeli jets strafed and firebombed a seemingly hostile ship near the Sinai coast. Israeli torpedo boats quickly converged to finish the job, then abruptly ceased fire and offered assistance to the battered crew. Israel had attacked the USS Liberty. In all, 34 Americans died, and 171 were injured. Israeli leaders apologized promptly and profusely, explaining that they had mistaken the Liberty for an enemy vessel--an explanation that subsequent investigations in both the United States and Israel upheld.
Tablets to Books
May 14, 2001
Libraries in the Ancient World By Lionel Casson (Yale University Press, 177 pp., $22.95) One of the inscribed clay tablets in the library of Ashurbanipal, who was the king of Assyria from 668 B.C.
January 15, 2001
SCARLET LETTER: John Ashcroft's two-page letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, apparently unreported by any major news outlet, rang with a sense of urgency. "This year," he wrote, "several disquieting events have raised serious questions about the integrity of the elections." The electoral irregularities were striking enough, he argued, to merit investigation by the Justice Department. "I would appreciate your immediate attention to this problem, using the resources of your Department, to ensure the integrity of [the] election process," he pleaded.
June 14, 1999
Apart from Austin Powers, there can be few British institutions as groovy right now as The Economist. Der Spiegel has hailed its "legendary influence." Vanity Fair has written that "the positions The Economist takes change the minds that matter." In Britain, the Sunday Telegraph has declared that "it is widely regarded as the smartest, most influential weekly magazine in the world." In America, it is regularly fawned on as a font of journalistic reason.
July 07, 1997
On a recent afternoon in Washington, D.C., a group of Christian evangelicals and social activists met at the offices of the conservative Family Research Council to watch a short home movie. The twenty-minute film, smuggled out of the People’s Republic of China, depicted Chinese Christians involved in the illegal faith known as the home church movement. The audience watched scenes of hundreds of worshipers at passionate prayer— swaying, chanting—in the caves and fields where they secretly meet.
A Man of Good Intentions
July 29, 1996
Profound disappointment creased the usually impassive face of Warren Christopher the night of May 29. The secretary of state and his staff on the seventh floor of the State Department were hearing about the election returns from Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, a committed foe of trading the Golan Heights for peace with Hafez al-Assad's Syria, had defeated Shimon Peres, Israeli architect of the land-for-peace enterprise. Christopher had invested more than three years of effort, as well as presidential, national and personal prestige in trying to broker such a deal.