Alpha Girls, Cherry Blossoms, and Prisoner Rights
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Feb. 28 2002 2:15 PM

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You have the Old Country nailed. You 'll win a Pulitzer if you can bring similar gifts to the Middle East. Colin Powell, if not Bush himself, is going to have to get intimately involved with the only peace plan currently on the table—Prince Abdullah's—if it's to gain currency. We should do it, not to give in to Arafat's request for U.S. involvement, but because we are, in fact, the world's policeman. It's not going to happen without us.

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On the way to CNBC this morning to tape Tim Russert's show (with Evan Thomas of Newsweek), Alert Reader, I ran into Chris. We thought we should just go sit down at the computer and bang out a real back and forth (the best Breakfast Table ever was by Tim Noah and Marjorie Williams who ran into each other constantly since they are married), but we decided to keep the Internet between us. If I'd stayed I would have forced you to respond to the alpha girl question. So, what gives?

I never talk about the weather but being driven this morning, I got to take a close look at the most beautiful city in the world and saw, in full bloom, literally, the legacy of Lady Bird Johnson—thousands of daffodils along the parkway, by the Kennedy Center, around the tidal basin. After this winter, does anyone doubt global warming is a real problem. I feel sorry for the tourist who will come in April for the cherry blossoms, which will have come and gone by then from the looks of the buds on the trees. Did you see the front page of the Post, which said this is the second-driest winter on record. Pity the farmers in Virginia. I'm aware of it because I'd be drowned if it were to rain or snow since my sunroof won't close. We city slickers have a narrow perspective on the weather.

Here's a question: If a detainee is violating Guantanamo rules by wearing a turban (prohibited because it could hide a weapon), is it a violation of a detainees right to religious expression if he is questioned about it during prayer time? Camp officials seem quite apologetic. Should they be? Don't you give up your rights when you are a prisoner who, in addition, has broken the rules designed to protect the guards and other prisoners? There's now a strike on in response to this alleged affront. How did that get organized? If a strike can get organized, can something more dangerous be launched down there?

Being the world's policeman is a dangerous job. Too bad we have to do it.

Margaret Carlson is a columnist for Time magazine. She also appears on Inside Politics and Capital Gang.