All Too Human
May 24, 2004
SINCE THE ABU GHRAIB catastrophe broke two weeks ago, Bush officials have struck many of the right notes. But they have struck one wrong one over and over. “This is not America,” President Bush told the Arabic-language network Al Hurra. “This is not who American servicemen are,” added Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, in an interview with Al Arabiya, “Americans do not do this to other people.” But, of course, Americans did do to this to other people—that’s why Rice was on Arabic television.
Devils in America
February 16, 2004
Reds: McCarthyism in Twentieth-Century America By Ted Morgan (Random House, 685 pp., $35) NEARLY FIFTY YEARS AGO the United States Senate voted to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy. Within three years of his disgrace, McCarthy was dead, his health destroyed by heavy drinking. His time in the limelight had been brief.
See No Evil
February 09, 2004
IMAGINE THAT THE king has died. Now imagine that every day on television you see a procession of people chanting, “Long live the king!” Imagine it wasn’t always this way: Just a few years ago, if the king’s health became shaky, everyone discussed the problem openly. But no more. And now you have to choose. Either you go along and pretend that a dead man is alive—which isn’t all that difficult, since everyone is doing it—or you insist, unreasonably, that you see what you see, in which case you will be branded a kook. Now imagine you’ve been parachuted into a country like this as a foreign corre
He Meant What He Said
February 02, 2004
I. Adolf Hitler's so-called second book was not published in his lifetime. Written, as Gerhard Weinberg convincingly speculates, in late June and early July 1928, the book’s publication was postponed because Mein Kampf, Hitler's first massive text, was selling very badly and could hardly stand competition with another publication by the same author. Later, after Hitler was appointed chancellor and Mein Kampf became one of the greatest (and allegedly most unread) best-sellers of all times, the second book was apparently seen as disclosing his foreign policy plans too explicitly to allow publica
December 14, 2003
The Bush administration's internecine squabbles over Iraq policy have gotten a lot of press, but no issue has divided its foreign policy team more than North Korea. For two years, engagers (who generally favor using diplomacy to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program) and hawks (who are suspicious of negotiations and believe rewarding North Korean leader Kim Jong Il could encourage other proliferators) were unable to resolve their differences. "It's as stark as stark could be--we weren't even on the same page," says one American official.
December 01, 2003
In early 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney spoke to President George W. Bush from the heart. The war in Afghanistan had been an astonishing display of U.S. strength. Instead of the bloody quagmire many predicted, CIA paramilitary agents, Special Forces, and U.S. air power had teamed with Northern Alliance guerrillas to run the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of their strongholds.
The Ungreat Washed
July 07, 2003
The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad By Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton, 286 pp., $24.95) I. Midway through Fareed Zakaria’s attack on democracy, one realizes that his animus toward popular government is not only theoretical but also personal, and in some ways it is even quite understandable.
Riches and Rigmaroles
July 07, 2003
Tycoon (New Yorker), Swimming Pool (Focus), Jet Lag (Miramax) Heaven, often stingy in other matters, is generous with paradox. Recurrently through the seventy-year life of the USSR, we got reports of Soviet individuals who had become rich. With the approach of Tycoon from Russia, I hoped to have the contradiction explained. But this film is adapted from a novel about Boris Berezovsky, who certainly became rich but was mostly active in post-Marxist Russia, so it does not answer my old question.
June 09, 2003
Lawrence Kaplan on how not to handle a nuke threat.
April 21, 2003
The House of Representatives has not exactly risen to meet our present world-historical moment. After France opposed invading Iraq this winter, congressional Republicans acted like a petulant band of Bill O’Reillys. French fries were replaced in House cafeterias by “freedom fries,” conservatives tried to kill a contract with a French firm to feed U.S. Marines, and a Colorado representative demanded an end to the use of French-made headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. These were largely symbolic, if infantile, gestures.