On the Trail of Broken Laws
Updated Friday, Oct. 11, 2002, at 4:35 PM
National Review, Oct. 28 In a damning cover story, the magazine obtains the visa applications for 15 of the Sept. 11 hijackers and concludes that all of them should have been denied entry to the United States. State Department consular officers, ignoring immigration law, admitted hijackers who had no visible means of support, had no credible reason to enter the United States, clearly lied on their applications, and withheld required information. Hijackers listed fake destinations in the United States ("Wasantwn"; "South City") or none at all. The State Department is supposed to bar suspicious applicants for temporary visas, but, NR argues, lax enforcement and a specific policy of "courtesy" toward Saudis allowed the terrorists to beat the system.— D.P.
New York Review of Books, Oct. 24
Czech President Vaclav Havel reflects, bemused, on his tenure as head of state and proposes a template for foreign policy: increase understanding of foreign cultures; combat evil early and with force, but try never to put civilians at risk; and employ an invigorated sense of moral responsibility. … Russell Baker admiringly assesses Sen. John McCain's new memoir. This time around, McCain has written an unguarded book, confessing his real feelings for political foes in sometimes astonishing moments of candor: He calls Christian-rightist Paul Weyrich "a pompous, self-serving son of a bitch." … Positive notices for two books about Lincoln's assassination: one for placing the murder squarely in post-Civil-War context and showing its disastrous effects on the "divided, agonized nation's destiny"; the other for examining the trials and hangings of the conspirators in terms of the morally dicey choice between military tribunals and civilian proceedings—reflecting on our ambivalent feelings about them now in the war on terrorism.—S.G.
Economist, Oct. 12 An article contends that there's no double standard in the United Nations' treatment of Iraq and Israel. Critics argue that both nations violate U.N. resolutions and that Israel already has the bomb, while Iraq just wants one. The difference is that U.N. resolutions on Israel have always been nonbinding and have always been equally ignored by the Palestinians. With regards to nuclear weapons, Israel never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; Iraq did. … A survey of Greece says that thanks to economic liberalization, the nation is on the up-and-up. A decade ago, the Greek economy was a mess; today it's growing more than twice as fast as the EU average. But unemployment and inflation are still high, and much of the recent growth can be credited to temporary EU structural aid and 2004 Olympics preparations. … An article says Iraq has made a flurry of last-minute oil deals with European companies with the hopes of staving off war. The question is, will the deals be null and void in a post-Saddam Iraq?— J.F.
New Republic, Oct. 21 The cover piece unpacks the illogical liberal opposition to war. Liberating Iraq fits squarely within liberal foreign policy principles, and liberals supported regime change when it was advanced by Bill Clinton. Now they think Bush's unilateralism is hindering cooperation with the United Nations, when it's really just the opposite: If the United Nations finally does something, it will be thanks to Bush, not in spite of him. … A piece says the administration still hasn't decided whether to mount an effective inspections effort or one that will fail and be a pretext for war. Bush's speech marked a retreat from demands for regime change, which could mean that Colin Powell and the multilateralists are gaining favor. … "TRB" finds some good news in this year's election: Race is less important than ever before. With crime down and affirmative action and welfare dead as political issues, the race card doesn't play well anymore—and black candidates are better off for it.— K.T.
New York Times Magazine, Oct. 13 The cover story explains how the increasing number of sexual harassment cases brought by men against other men is exposing the flaws in harassment law. Because harassment law relies on an interpretation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, plaintiffs have to prove that harassment was gender discriminatory. But what if a boss harasses male and female workers equally? Problems like that have prompted scholars to consider reframing harassment as harm to dignity rather than discrimination. … A piece says Disney has pinned its hopes for the next children's fantasy empire on horror writer Clive Barker. In paintings and now in a book, Barker has created a Narnia-like world called Abarat. But will audiences see it as just another Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings ripoff? … A piece explains why the Madison Ave. "18 to 34" myth is just that: a myth. In a time when no one has brand loyalty and older consumers are a big chunk of the population, targeting youth doesn't pay.— K.T. U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 14
The cover story sums up the evidence—or lack thereof—for removing Saddam Hussein from power. President Bush, the authors say, does not have the kind of evidence that other presidents have had to justify war, just a sinking suspicion of Saddam's intentions. … An article says that Iraq has been scouring the world's black markets for weapons to rebuild its military arsenal, financing the shopping spree with proceeds from illegal oil sales. Investigators say much of the action lately has centered in Ukraine, where oversight is so lax that Iraq has assembled weapons there before shipping them to Baghdad. … A piece questions whether the nation's college campuses are becoming anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League says no, but incidents traced to anti-Israel sentiment have been on the increase lately.—H.B.
Newsweek, Oct. 14 The cover story examines the threat of a possible smallpox attack and how Washington is prepared to respond. Although the odds of attack are anyone's guess, the administration has drawn up a plan to vaccinate up to 10 million private citizens, starting with health workers, by early 2004. … An article questions whether the United States has ulterior motives in pushing for weapons inspectors to have unfettered access to Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces. A controversial former member of the inspection team in the 1990s says that back then they were gathering intelligence on where the Iraqi leader lived, worked, and hid from bombs—not to eliminate weapons but to eliminate him. … New immigration rules signed into law after 9/11 have made it difficult for some foreign artists to enter the United States, an article notes. The Afro-Cuban All Stars, a spin-off of the Buena Vista Social Club, recently canceled its tour when members couldn't secure visas.—H.B. Time, Oct. 14 The cover story explores the nation's sudden fixation with home ownership and remodeling. With low mortgage rates and a topsy-turvy stock market, not to mention inspiration from TV shows like Trading Spaces, more people than ever are home-obsessed. The new American home, as the author calls it, sounds amazingly self-indulgent: small rooms for the kids make way for the parents' apartment-size master suite, a built-in espresso maker, and heated toilet seats. … An article warns of another corporate scandal in the wings, this time at Qwest Communications. Congressional investigators want to talk to Phil Anschutz, the company's founder and former CEO, about his sale of $2 billion in Qwest stock just before the company announced it had reported phony revenue.—H.B. The New Yorker, Oct. 14 and 21 The America in the World issue. An article profiles National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, charting her rise from a childhood piano prodigy in Alabama to one of President Bush's most valued aides. Rice is the closest person to Bush, in terms of time spent in his presence, and he's influencing her just as much as she influences him. When you hear Rice speak, author Nicholas Lemann says, it's just as Bush would sound if he were as articulate. … An article, by Slate contributor Jeffrey Goldberg, examines the continuing threat of Hezbollah, which prior to 9/11 had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world. The group's main focus today is training anti-Israel militants and the development of a mega-bomb that could lead to a major Middle East war. … A piece profiles Otto Reich, the United States' controversial top diplomat in Latin America. Critics say Reich, who was born in Cuba, is an anti-Castro fanatic with a shadowy past.—H.B.
Weekly Standard, Oct. 14
The cover article dissects just what it is about Bush that so frustrates Democrats. Dems constantly think they're on the verge of proving that Bush is stupid, out of touch, and a dishonest crony capitalist. But when Bush sticks to his guns, he consistently shows them up, and it drives the Dems crazy. … An article and editorial lay into Democratic Congressmen David Bonior and Jim McDermott for their recent "fact-finding" mission to Iraq. The lawmakers served as tools of Saddam's propaganda machine and undermined national security by urging us to "take the Iraqis on their face value." But Democrats and Republicans have mostly kept their condemnation silent. … An article extracts the five "immutable laws of Maureen Dowd" from her columns: 1) "All political phenomena can be reduced to caricatures of the personalities involved"; 2) whine rather than offer solutions; 3) be cute over coherent; 4) pretend that people care about the details of your yuppie lifestyle; 5) Europeans are always right.— J.F.
The Nation, Oct. 21
A piece argues that the Iraq invasion is being used as a pretense for a more insidious permanent buildup of American forces abroad. … An article predicts what the coming war on Iraq will look like. First will come the precision bombers, then the commandos dropping out of helicopters, followed by a high-speed armored assault on Baghdad. Sounds good, except a lot can go wrong. Saddam could set off a couple Scuds, the Iraqi army could be tougher than we expect, or we could end up having to fight house-to-house in the streets of Baghdad. … Philosopher Richard Rorty writes that it is in the Republican Party's "interest to bring about the permanent militarization of the state described in Orwell's 1984." To protect our democracy, citizens must speak out against America becoming a perpetual national security state.— J.F.
Washington Monthly, October 2002
The cover story says Democrats are mistakenly shying away from the most important issue of the November elections: the prospect of GOP control of all three branches of government. At the helm of an undivided government, Bush could push through an agenda that can't be undone for at least a generation. But the Democrats are too hung up on nonpartisan discussion of "the issues" to campaign on this scary threat. … An article decries the National Mall for being a sober desert of tourists without restaurants or bathrooms or much fun of any kind to be had. The Mall is "not a symbol of America so much as of the average American congressman—stately, aloof, and not much fun after 6 p.m." If Washington were a European capital, there would be cafes and things to do (maybe even a moon bounce for the kids): The Mall would be alive.— J.F.
Holly Bailey is a writer in Washington, D.C.
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.
Siân Gibby assists in editing the Faith-Based column. She copy-edits for Slate.
David Plotz is the Editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and Good Book. He appears on Slate's Political Gabfest.
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.