What's new in the New York Times Magazine, etc.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Sept. 13 2002 11:42 AM

Damn the Torpedoes

Economist

Economist, Sept. 14 The cover piece defends the option of going it alone in Iraq without U.N. approval. Due to Russian opposition, NATO's war in Kosovo went unapproved by the U.N. Security Council, but it was nonetheless morally justified. "If it was right to act in Kosovo where the Security Council was stymied, it is surely right to act in Iraq where the council has failed." A piece predicts that a flood of new oil from a free Iraq probably won't sink OPEC, as many hope. Iraq's oil infrastructure is in massive disrepair and will take years to fix. In the meantime, the chaos of war could leave Saudi Arabia and OPEC in firm control of oil prices. An article reports that one- and two-euro coins may be responsible for a rash of rashes. When held in a sweaty palm, the coins leach 300 times more nickel into the skin than is allowed by EU guidelines.— J.F.

New Republic

New Republic, Sept. 23 The editors accuse the Democrats of having nothing to say about Iraq. The Dems evade the issue by postponing the debate and hiding behind multilateralism, when what they really need to do is come up with their own foreign policy vision, which would include 1) safeguarding Russian nuclear materials and 2) a commitment to peacekeeping in Afghanistan. A piece argues that Democrats might actually benefit from voting on a war resolution before the November elections—especially presidential hopefuls like John Kerry, Dick Gephardt, and John Edwards, who all need an occasion to flaunt some hawkishness. A piece offers a new suggestion for what to do with the New York Times'classist Weddings pages: Choose stories according to their drama and intrigue, not for wealth of the participants.—K.T.

New York Times Magazine

New York Times Magazine, Sept. 15 The cover story examines the horrifying case of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Rwanda's minister for women's affairs at the time of the 1994 genocide and now the first woman to be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in an international court. Why did she incite Hutu soldiers to rape thousands of Tutsi women? She herself is part Tutsi: What was behind her bloodthirsty role? A piece describes how conservative Sen. Pete Domenici became an advocate for the mentally ill after his daughter was diagnosed as schizophrenic. A piece looks at Steve Jarding and Mudcat Saunders, political consultants who are trying to help the Democrats win back a rural base. They won the Virginia governorship with a campaign featuring a bluegrass band, a NASCAR team, and a hunting club; and now 2004 hopeful John Edwards has hired them for his presidential campaign. But the party leadership doesn't think the Dems' future is with rural, white males.—K.T.

Time and Newsweek

Time and Newsweek, Sept. 16 Both cover stories consider America's would-be invasion of Iraq. Time suggests that the Bush administration will have a hard time selling the war to Congress, the United Nations, and the American public. No hard evidence ties Saddam Hussein to weapons of mass destruction, so President Bush will rely instead on his conviction that after Sept. 11, any enemy with the will to commit terrorist acts is a legitimate target. Newsweek focuses on the internal struggle within the administration: Colin Powell's doves versus Donald Rumsfeld's hawks. Rumsfeld, who strikes many in Washington as a "reckless warmonger," was reared before Vietnam when there was always a bright line between right and wrong, and the cautious Powell is too low key to be heard over such bluster. Bush likes Powell, but in his heart he's with Rumsfeld.

U.S. News & World Report

Newsweek's handy primer gives the pros and cons of going to war. Hussein probably has biological and chemical weapons, but he's not even close on nukes. His army is poorly trained, but the elite Republican Guard is no slouch and his air defenses are strong. It'll be hard to actually get into Baghdad and capture or kill Saddam, and American troops may have to remain in Iraq for years while the regime gradually changes. A Hugh Sidey piece in Time rejects the armchair psychiatrists who claim that the war represents some bizarre Freudian effort for President Bush to avenge his father's failure to overthrow Saddam. Regime change was not the point of Desert Storm. Newsweek reports that the newest entry in the what's-a-healthy-diet sweepstakes, the Institute of Medicine's diet and exercise guidelines, rejects both Atkins and his enemies. Who cares about fat and carbohydrates? You need a pile of fiber.— J.D. U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 16 Unlike Time or Newsweek, U.S. News runs its Sept. 11 anniversary package during the right week. An article provides scary statistics about the skyrocketing cost of health care. The average cost companies pay to insure their employees has doubled since 1998. Large employers are passing those costs on to workers (who'll pay $16 per month more in premiums this year than last), and small employers are dropping health care altogether (last year 67 percent of small businesses provided insurance, but the figure fell to 61 percent this year). In other health bad news, one piece reports that many porches and decks are made of arsenic-treated wood, which remains toxic for as long as 20 years. Another reveals that the FDA has neglected to properly regulate tissue banks, leading to an unacceptably high rate of infection following tissue transplants.— J.D.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, Sept. 16 A piece says the buzz around the fight between Colin Powell's multilateralists and Donald Rumsfeld's unilateralists has obscured a third view of the war on terror. Foreign policy realists think the sprawling war President Bush has in mind will distract him from the real goal: rooting out al-Qaida. The administration wants to invade Iraq, an act with all sorts of unknown consequences, but it hasn't even tracked down most of those directly responsible for Sept. 11 yet.... A 30-page article claims that while Osama Bin Laden is the public face of terror, its private heart is Ayman al-Zawahiri, a veteran Egyptian jihadist. In the 1980s, Zawahiri helped Bin Laden focus his frustration—and his wealth—into a coherent terrorist strategy. Zawahiri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad recently merged with al-Qaida, and Egyptians dominate the combined organization.— J.D.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, Sept. 16 The cover story sifts through all the hearsay and gossip pointing to Steven Hatfill as chief suspect in the anthrax investigation. While the author isn't ready to exonerate Hatfill, he excoriates the media (especially the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof) for propagating false myths about Hatfill's supposed racism, his access to anthrax, and the secret study of how to conduct terror by mail that he's alleged to have written. A piece recalls that many of the Democrats who are skeptical about war with Iraq were far more hawkish four years ago. In 1998, when Saddam Hussein last refused weapons inspections, Daschle, Kerry, Dodd, et al., all signed a resolution supporting military action. What's changed? An article attacks the bogus dogma of the "population bomb" thinkers. Overpopulation isn't a real problem (resources aren't becoming more scarce), and even if you believe it is, birth rates can't realistically be lowered by voluntary measures.— J.F.

The Nation

The Nation, Sept. 23 An article looks at the diversity of opinions on the left since Sept. 11. At one end of the spectrum, people like Noam Chomsky maintain their reflexive anti-Americanism. At the other end, interventionists like Christopher Hitchens unabashedly embrace the war on terrorism. There's yet to be a satisfying synthesis. An article suggests that America's growing trade deficit is a threat to its imperial ambitions. We're in an adverse power relationship with foreign creditors who can pull the plug if given sufficient provocation. It's what the United States did to Britain in 1956, when it withheld an IMF loan in protest of the Suez Canal invasion. A piece presents anecdotal evidence that even mainstream America has questions about Bush's hawkish foreign policy. At a Greensboro, N.C., Fourth of July Parade, a group of peace activists marching behind banners of famous pacifists received applause up and down the parade route.— J.F.

Jeremy Derfner is a former Slate editorial assistant.

In addition to being the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura, Joshua Foer is the author of Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, which grew out of a story he wrote for Slate.

Kate Taylor is the arts reporter at the New York Sun and the editor of an anthology of essays about anorexia, Going Hungry, which will be published next spring.

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