Scout's honor TO THE EDITORS: Thank you for printing "Big Tent," by Benjamin Soskis (September 17). As the mother of a gay son, I believe there is no greater organization he could belong to than the Boy Scouts of America. He deserves the same ability to learn to camp, to serve his community, and to become a leader as any other boy. I can think of no finer role model for him than someone like James Dale, who came up through the ranks of scouting to earn his Eagle. Why must Dale hide his sexual orientation?
The air campaign that the United States, with the morally spectacular assistance of Great Britain, inaugurated against Afghanistan on October 7 appears designed to make the medieval kingdom of the Taliban safe for operations closer to the ground. Army helicopters and commando units seem destined for the next phase of the campaign, so as to find the caves in which Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the other self-styled Saladins are hiding. Sooner or later American special ops forces, armed not least with their recollections of the ruins in New York and Washington, will find them.
It's a bright early October morning on Capitol Hill. Joe Biden is bounding up the steps of the Russell Senate Office Building, wearing his trademark grin. As he makes for the door, he is met by a group of airline pilots and flight attendants looking vaguely heroic in their navy-blue uniforms and wing-shaped pins. A blandly handsome man in a pilot's cap steps forward and asks Biden to help pass emergency benefits for laid-off airline workers. Biden nods as the men and women cluster around him with fawning smiles. Then he speaks.
The cold war is back in vogue. For a month now, politicians and commentators have been analogizing the newly declared war on terror to America's 40-year war against communism. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, for one, says, "This campaign will be waged much like the cold war, in the sense that it will involve many fronts over a period of time." But the parallel extends beyond similarities of scope and duration.
Imagine this: FBI agents get an anonymous tip that a red van with biological weapons has just dumped anthrax in the Central Park reservoir. They'd like to search all the red vans in the area, but by law they can't. Once a crime has occurred, an anonymous tip can't create reasonable suspicion for an investigative search, according to the Supreme Court.Now imagine this: You illegally download a copyrighted MP3 file, violating your terms of service contract with America Online.
Northwest Washington, D.C. The landing is dark, and the door to the office--ostensibly a travel agency--is unmarked, save for a sticker proclaiming, "I Pakistan." Outside on the street, small clusters of men lounge against cars and in doorways, calling out to passersby. Inside, one rickety flight of steps up from Trina's Hair Gallery, the air is silent and stale. I obey a tiny sign, faintly visible in the gloom, instructing visitors to "ring bell." Then I wait--10, 20, 40 seconds--until a pair of gold-rimmed glasses appears in a small, arched window above the door. I wave and smile.
When President Bush declared war on terrorism just after September 11, he promised something very important: America would not merely punish the terrorists; it would punish the states that sponsor them. And so when Bush stood before Congress two weeks ago, he issued an explicit ultimatum to the Taliban, the medieval fanatics who harbor Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda terrorist network. "The Taliban must act, and act immediately," Bush vowed in his speech.
Back in the peaceful days of late summer, Democrats were finally getting around to something they'd neglected since Bill Clinton left office: foreign policy. In August, Tom Daschle and Richard Gephardt each delivered addresses criticizing the Bush administration for its aversion to multilateralism and its obsession with missile defense. A few weeks later, Senator Joe Biden did the same at the National Press Club. Previewing Biden's speech that morning, the Los Angeles Times explained that congressional Democrats had begun a prolonged "assault on the Bush administration's defense and foreign po
Is it a little laughter that we need now? Then behold the contrition of yesterday's frivolous, the new fashion in gravity. The man who edits Vanity Fair has ruled that the age of cynicism is over. He would know. I always wondered what it would take to put a cramp in the trashy mind, and at last I have my answer: a mass grave in lower Manhattan. So now depth has buzz. The papers are filled with hip people seeing through hipness, composing elegiac farewells to the days of Gary Condit and Jennifer Lopez. The on dit has moved beyond the apple martini.
Though we still lack many details of the September 11 attacks, it's a good guess that oil money was involved. Osama bin Laden's inherited wealth comes from a Saudi construction family that made its fortune in the Arabian oil boom. He is also believed to receive donations from Saudis who grew rich from petroleum leases. If Saddam Hussein assisted in the attack, then oil money may have flowed to the butchers through Iraq, too. And if the terrorists got money from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, then Saudi Arabia and Iraq got money from us--because Americans bought their oil.