Darfur's U.n. Fantasy
September 22, 2006

Poor Darfur. The African Union (AU) will stay in the region. Many people around the world will then think that there is a robust peacekeeping force preventing the Sudanese military and its bloody Janjaweed allies from murdering their designated enemies, the black Muslims of Sudan. The AU says they will only be there until a U.N. mobilization arrives, better equipped and with more soldiers. This is a fantasy that will never happen, and both the AU and the United Nations know it. The Khartoum government won't allow them to enter the country.

Not All Love Lost
September 19, 2006

by Darrin McMahonI was in Argentina last week, and surprised at how often and how warmly the people I met there responded to the fact that I was American. One particularly endearing man, now in his 80s, had worked for Sears in the 1950s selling appliances, and relished the thought of going back. Another told of how he had watched his parents weep over the news of President Kennedy's assassination ("Era Católico!"), and rocked out in his teens to Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.

War Over Words
September 17, 2006

It's really quite amazing to see so many Muslims having a temper fit about the Pope locating a propensity toward violence in Islam and then watching as its militants proceed to firebomb Christian churches in revenge. As of Sunday a.m., at least seven churches had been firebombed in what's called Palestine alone. Five of these were not even Catholic, which reflects Islam's sloppy and undiscerning conception of the other. A non-believer is a non-believer. You don't have to know anything else.

A Note From Rhode Island
September 13, 2006

by Ted WidmerYesterday, in one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country, moderate Republican Lincoln Chafee defeated a robust challenge from a right-wing conservative, Stephen Laffey. The Boston Globe said Chafee "eked out" a narrow victory, but in fact he won by a comfortable 54-46 margin, an impressive victory after many commentators and polls had predicted his defeat. He now faces a hard challenge in the general election from a former state attorney general, Sheldon Whitehouse, who faced little opposition winning the Democratic nomination yesterday.

The Real "path To 9/11"
September 12, 2006

I am in New York to welcome my granddaughter into the world. It is an auspicious day: sunny, comfortably warm, but with a cool under-breeze and with many taxis on the streets, since people are taking in the air instead of riding in the city's normal daytime snail's pace traffic. Yesterday was September 11, and the weather, like today's, was as balmy as the 9/11 of history, when a half-million hapless people, most of them dazed and many in near-trauma, were walking, mostly northward, on the long journey home.

Banning Carry-on Luggage?
September 11, 2006

by Cass SunsteinIn the aftermath of the disclosure of the terrorist plot in London, many people have been calling for a complete ban on carry-on luggage. For those who want such a ban, it is one way to ensure that Americans are "safe." The editorial writers at The New York Times proclaim, "the surest way to keep dangerous materials out of the cabin is to keep virtually all materials out of the cabin." But there is a big problem here.

Patriot Games
September 10, 2006

Joseph C. Wilson and Valerie Plame were one of those Washington couples whose careers had ended on the lower-middle rungs. Of course, this judgment depends on what you call "lower-middle." OK, Wilson did end his State Department career as an ambassador, with the "your excellency" stuff and all that. But his last posting was as envoy to Sao Tome and Principe, two small volcanic islands situated in the equatorial Atlantic, consisting of 386 square miles and populated by 160,000 people. This republic has no yellowcake. It surely is one of those designated diplomatic hardship spots.

Bad Intelligence
September 09, 2006

by David A. BellI can't agree enough with David's excellent point about second-guessing the actions of both the Clinton and Bush administrations before 9/11. It is certainly bad history to project our own hyper-sensitivity to threats of terrorism back into the pre-9/11 era. I would add that the ABC docudrama, like so much commentary on the subject of terrorist threats, also seems to rest on a basic misunderstanding of how intelligence gathering works.

The New School
September 01, 2006

Today's NYT report that high-school students in China will no longer need to learn about the details of the Communist Revolution or the words and deeds of Mao Zedong raises a number of intriguing questions: Has any other powerful nation, especially one with an authoritarian government, ever made a similar move to de-emphasize nationalist renderings of history?

Bean Counter
July 11, 2006

If Democrats win back the House in the midterms today, they'll owe an enormous debt to organized labor, which has spent more than $40 million--and sent millions of voters to the polls--to help the party take control of Congress. The AFL-CIO alone has targeted more than 200 contests in 21 states this cycle, and unions, despite their declining power, are still acting as difference-makers in many races.