Roundup: Historian's Take
This is where we place excerpts by historians writing about the news. On occasion this page also includes political scientists, economists, and law professors who write about history. We may from time to time even include English profs.
The close, cozy relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia began with Ronald Reagan, not George W. Bush as some filmmakers and journalists contend.
When Reagan came to office in 1981, he inherited a turbulent Middle East. Oil prices had jumped from $3.39 per barrel to more than $21. The zealously anti-American Shiite leader Ayatollah Khomeini had recently replaced the American-friendly shah of Iran. The Soviet Union was reinforcing its position in Afghanistan and one step closer to the oil-rich Persian Gulf. In the words of Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, the Soviet Union had"progressed from a continental power to a global one."
What few realized at the time was that these events would set the stage for the next two decades of U.S.-Saudi relations.
Reagan wanted not only to contain the Soviet Union but to"reverse the expansion of Soviet control and military presence throughout the world." The goal of the Reagan doctrine was to raise the costs of Moscow's foreign policy by championing democracy, outspending the Soviets on defense and supporting anti-Soviet insurgencies in the developing world.
The problem for Reagan was that his doctrine was expensive and America was exhausted. Still recovering from Vietnam, there was little public support for adventures in the Third World. But Reagan believed that his predecessors' failure to turn back Soviet advances in Angola and Ethiopia and elsewhere in the mid-1970s had only emboldened the Soviet Union.
To high-level administration officials, it became clear that to roll back the communists would be costly. CIA Director William J. Casey set out to find others to provide arms and money. The possibility of Saudi Arabian assistance dawned on the administration very early on. Not only could they provide the help Reagan wanted, but with the shah of Iran gone, the Saudis could also play a more prominent role as an oil-rich ally in a turbulent region....
Posted on: Friday, July 9, 2004 - 09:29
The fact that the New Yorker now has more subscribers in California than in New York is just one more indicator of the growing similarities between two cities that were once considered the extremes of American culture — New York City and Los Angeles. This is not good news for either L.A., the vanguard of American social change, or NYC, the vaunted engine of American culture. Rather, it reflects a creeping blandness in American life, fueled by the culture's endless packaging and sale of all that is unique.
New York and L.A. were once charged elements sparking creativity from coast to coast. But the distance between these opposing cities has collapsed under the weight of a culture consisting mainly of marketing messages. L.A. and New York have folded together like advertisements facing one another in a glossy magazine, and we have created a new entity, smeared with media ink — New Angeles.
At the moment, Los Angeles seems deeply alluring to the very New Yorkers who once dismissed it. Donald Trump, the latest New York robber baron, has made clear his intention of becoming involved in L.A. real estate development. East Coast architecture mavens have deified Frank Gehry for his contorted curves and have adopted Palm Springs as their shrine to mid-century Modernism. But California culture is being packaged by entrepreneurs, fed through the media machine and sold to an utterly conquered New York. In the triumph of the raw-food movement, cream sauces have disappeared along with New York culinary institutions like La Cote Basque. Mat-toting yoga students with sun-kissed complexions now stride imperiously down Avenue C past former shooting galleries. The new seats of power are in the Gehry-designed Conde Nast cafeteria and Miramax offices rather than at Le Cirque. New York is riveted by its sudden realization that the Old Guard has fallen under the Jimmy Choo-shod hoofs of a thousand Paris Hiltons.
For our part, Angelenos are currently charmed by images of East Coast cities like New York. We wander through the manufactured cityscapes of malls like the Grove or City Walk imagining that we are in Greenwich Village or the Upper West Side. We stroll past Disney-issue dancing fountains and street vendors on our way to the"neighborhood" movie theater. We pop into quaint local shops like the Gap or Barnes & Noble for a little browsing. Ah — city life.
In the past, L.A. routinely thumbed its nose at what urbanist Jane Jacobs called" contact" — the casual daily interactions of people of different classes mixing together in an urban environment. There was a certain power in refusing what was so clearly presented as a superior lifestyle.
Now we seek the comfort of contact but recoil from the reality of what it would mean to really come together as a city. We like our contact to be controlled in a way that it never could be in a city as densely populated as New York. The Westside remains largely inaccessible by public transportation and guarded by rows of towering hedges. We were at least more honest when we stayed in our cars, emerging only in parking garages or behind gates rather than trying to simulate traditional city life....
Posted on: Friday, July 9, 2004 - 09:22
If each era gets the leaders it deserves, then it is also true that each gets the memoirs it deserves. Not surprisingly, Bill Clinton, avatar of the 1990s and of the ageing baby boom, has written one suited for the Age of Oprah.
Like a boomer's version of Pilgrim's Progress, it has a hero who wanders through the wilderness of the Vietnam-to-September 11 world filled with earnest idealism jostling with unabashed ambition, while confronting trials that produce a conflicting mix of self-righteousness and self-awareness. Faith in psychotherapy joins with religious faith in a quest for sensitive personal insights suitable for sharing. As a result, Clinton's 957-page My Life* captures and conveys, in ways that are sometimes brilliant and at other times unintentional, the essence of his personality and presidency: fascinating, undisciplined, deeply intelligent, self-indulgent and filled with great promise alternately grasped and squandered.
It is those qualities, too, that make his book a reflection of his day and generation. The Indulgent Nineties, between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Twin Towers, were disciplined neither by a Cold War nor a war on terrorism. It was a time of optimism unleavened by sacrifice. Digitally driven exuberance produced an economic boom and a psychological bubble. Although Clinton portrays this period as one filled with Herculean struggles by progressive forces to beat the regressive right, which was occasionally the case, more often the fights were so bitter because the stakes were so small.
Clinton's psychological introspection, rendered in lingo from personal therapy and couples' counseling, is another reason his memoir reads like a period piece.
In that regard, it contrasts with the most underrated modern presidential memoir, Richard Nixon's RN, the product of a more emotionally inhibited generation. Nixon's crisp opening sentence -"I was born in a house my father built" - stands starkly without further reflection. Clinton's opening sentence likewise describes his birth, but it's clogged with fact-filled clauses and followed by pages of analysis about how both his father and stepfather helped to instill his drives and demons.
Perhaps the best presidential autobiography, or so we were informed repeatedly in the walk-up to the Clinton launch, is Ulysses S Grant's Personal Memoirs, which wins this month's Alexis de Tocqueville award for being the book most often cited by people who have not actually read it.
Its opening sentence is likewise revealing of the tenor of its times:"My family is American, and has been for generations, in all its branches, direct and collateral."
The critic Edmund Wilson called it"a unique expression of the national character". It was helped by having a great editor - Mark Twain - who relentlessly pushed Grant to write it, then edited it into shape and promoted it brilliantly. In a blurb that would have dazzled even today's promotion-savvy publishers, Twain called the memoir"the best of any general's since Caesar's".
Which brings up one additional way, alas, that Clinton's tome reflects our times. It is the product of an age of hyper-marketed blockbusters that are rushed into print and hurled into promotional orbit. Clinton was inexplicably pushed by the normally stately House of Knopf to meet an arbitrary deadline, and guessing whether he would meet it became a public pastime. The result is as messy as certain months of his presidency.
His beguiling recollection of his childhood is stapled together with a hastily disgorged data dump on the day-by-day chronology of his presidency that features stretches of unrelated paragraphs beginning with such phrases as,"Also that week ..."
Despite all of this, Clinton's finished product evokes another quote from Twain: Like Wagner's music, it's not as bad as it sounds. His life is too fascinating, his mind too brilliant, his desire to charm too strong to permit him to produce a boring book. The combination of analytic and emotional intelligence that made him a great politician now makes him a compelling raconteur....
Posted on: Friday, July 9, 2004 - 06:46
Los Angeles County's recent decision to remove a tiny cross from its seal has inspired an enormous protest from the region's evangelical community and its conservative allies.
The issue seems likely to embroil the county in a storm of lawsuits and lead perhaps to a divisive ballot measure during the next few months. Yet the whole battle smacks of a kind of amnesia about the roots of urban places.
Contemporary discussions of urban issues revolve around many things, from high-technology development to racial and sexual politics, but rarely mention the role of religion — churches, synagogues and mosques, and indeed, moral order — in city life. That's the postmodern, secular American approach, but it surely would have seemed odd to our urban predecessors for whom the linkage between the city and worship was utterly obvious.
The earliest cities of Mesopotamia, for example, were themselves largely directed by priests, who established coherent rules for the community. The temple, erected at the center of the town, was almost invariably the largest and most inspiring building.
This pattern can be seen virtually everywhere, from the cities of Mesoamerica and Peru to China and India. Babylon, the greatest metropolis of Mesopotamia, derived its name from Babi-ilani, or"the gate of the gods," the place from which the divinities were believed to have descended to Earth. Inca urban society rested on the belief that their rulers were gods and that their capital, Cuzco, constituted"the navel of the world."
The religious role in urban history goes well beyond architecture. City life, in contrast to nomadic or rural village life, has always depended on a community's ability to establish a common moral order among strangers from outside the family or clan.
In the earliest cities, priests, or kings who derived their authority from the gods, were the ones who devised the codes that kept increasingly complex societies operating in what we might call a civilized manner....
Posted on: Thursday, July 8, 2004 - 10:18
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Any presidential candidate is hoping that his vice presidential choice will help him, either to win election or to govern later. To find out if candidates get that wish, we've called presidential historian Michael Beschloss, who's here in Washington.
Mr. MICHAEL BESCHLOSS (Presidential Historian): Hi, Steve.
INSKEEP: First the politics of this. Traditionally it's said you pick a vice president to balance to the ticket, to win a state, to win a region. Have they generally helped to do that?
Mr. BESCHLOSS: They did in the past. You know, in the old days before television, and at a time when, for instance, if you lived in a state like Georgia or Nebraska, you probably stayed there most of your life, probably would make sense to put a Georgian or a Nebraskan on the ticket if that was important. Nowadays you've got television and radio all across the country. It's hard to do it that way.
INSKEEP: Classic example: At the beginning of the television age, John F. Kennedy from Massachusetts and Lyndon Johnson from Texas.
Mr. BESCHLOSS: Absolutely. And that was to take Texas, but was also to do something else, and that was unite that party. Lyndon Johnson had been the runner-up to John Kennedy, and also Johnson was someone who was considered to be less liberal than Kennedy was, and so from the moment that Johnson was chosen as vice president, Kennedy was no longer seen as necessarily this Northeastern liberal. He was at the head of a ticket that was not only ideologically more balanced, but also had the benefit of Johnson's long experience in the House and Senate.
INSKEEP: Oh, and that's happened a lot, hasn't it? I'm thinking of President Reagan and his vice president, George Herbert Walker Bush.
Mr. BESCHLOSS: Exactly, because when Reagan was nominated in 1980, what the polls showed was that one thing that led voters to be a little bit concerned about Reagan was that he had been governor of California for eight years, but did not have foreign policy experience, had not been in Washington. It was the time of the Cold War. You put George Bush, the elder, on that ticket, most of those doubts went right there.
INSKEEP: Now you mentioned that people are not quite as parochial because of communications as they maybe used to be, and given that, can a vice presidential choice really help the ticket or hurt it, either one?
Mr. BESCHLOSS: It sure can help, and probably the classic in recent times would be Bill Clinton choosing Al Gore in 1992. It went against all the conventional wisdom. They were both Southern, they were both Baptists, they were both young, they were ideologically moderate within the Democratic Party. No balance. But the point is that from the moment that Al Gore went on that ticket the 9th of July, 1992, people saw Bill Clinton in a different way. Clinton had had a rather hair-raising experience in the primaries. A lot of people knew him almost best for Gennifer Flowers and the draft controversy. But here you have Al Gore who comes onto the ticket, was respected in Washington, part of the establishment. From that moment on, Clinton was never behind.
INSKEEP: What do you think about John Kerry's pick, John Edwards?
Mr. BESCHLOSS: I think John Kerry hopes that what will happen to him was what happened to Bill Clinton in 1992, which is that it enhances the way that people see the top of the ticket. In this case, someone who can not only go after the Democratic base, but who's wonderful with crowds, you know, a wonderful speaker. I think John Kerry feels that by putting Edwards on the ticket, no one will any longer say that this is a choice for president and vice president that lacks excitement....
Posted on: Wednesday, July 7, 2004 - 12:34
MILES O'BRIEN, ANCHOR: John Kerry's choice of John Edwards as his running mate is no big surprise. To many, Edwards is generally considered one of the most skilled campaigners in the Democratic field. But can he help cinch the deal for Kerry, and what are the historical precedents in all of this?
Douglas Brinkley is a presidential historian, director of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans.
Professor Brinkley, good to have you back with us.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, EISENHOWER CENTER: Thank you for having me.
O'BRIEN: All right, first of all, first take on this one, will history treat this decision well?
BRINKLEY: Well, only time will tell, but certainly it makes a whole lot of sense. John Edwards is this year's flavor. Starting in February, he really picked up steam. He became sort of the number two Democratic behind John Edwards. He comes from a different geographic region. He's from the South, as you've been talking about. He's Baptist, Kerry's Catholic, there's a big age difference, but it makes for a pretty good combination.
So I think most core Democrats in the country are probably pleased with John Edwards as being the nominee.
O'BRIEN: Well, on a sultry summer day, we make a lot of these kinds of things, and people in the political class love talking about it, but I always hearken back to what John Nance Garner said about the office -- about equivalent to a warm pitcher of spit, or something like that. That might be cleaned up a little bit.
The point is, though, have times changed, and maybe perhaps has Dick Cheney, Al Gore -- have they changed the vice presidency such that these choices really matter to voters?
BRINKLEY: Well, John Nance Garner was one of the many vice presidents Franklin Roosevelt had. He used to change them every four years. So, as Garner said, sometimes the V.P. is like the spare tire in the automobile of government. He felt like a loose wheel.
In our modern culture, though, more and more the vice president's had I think a more essential role. It really began with Jimmy Carter bringing Walter Mondale into more, and you've seen every president since Carter having the vice president, I think, growing in stature, to the point now where some people feel that Dick Cheney is almost a prime minister, or running the office chief of staff in addition to being V.P.
And then when one looks at history, look how many great men become president by being vice president, meaning -- Theodore Roosevelt was simply McKinley's vice president. He came in under that assassination. And you had FDR dying and Truman coming in, or John F. Kennedy being shot and Johnson coming in. So it's clearly the quickest stepping stone to the White House.
O'BRIEN: A heartbeat way, as they say. Let's talk about -- you mentioned Jimmy Carter. Of course, in '76, he ran against Gerald Ford. The ticket was Ford and Dole, but perhaps we've all forgotten about a previous iteration of vice presidential Republican running mates for Ford.
BRINKLEY: Well, you know, Nelson Rockefeller was the V.P., and Ford dumped him in favor of Dole, and it turned out to be a terrible mistake. Because Daddy King, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s father was so powerful in the black community that he was going to stick with Rockefeller, because Rockefeller's money had been supporting all the black colleges, particularly the ones in Georgia.
And suddenly, when Rockefeller got dumped and Dole was on the ticket, Daddy King and a lot of black leaders said, you know what, we're going to back this one-term Georgia governor. And Carter had run as a redneck conservative in the South, wasn't trusted by the black community, but they trusted him more than they did with Bob Dole being added to the ticket. And, hence, it really solidified Carter's ability to be a Southerner that was carrying the black vote.
O'BRIEN: So, did Gerald Ford -- did this escape the Ford operation? Did they not see the significance of that move, perhaps? I mean, really, you could make a case the election might have turned right on that decision.
BRINKLEY: I think so. I'm writing a little book with the"New York Times" on Gerald Ford, and it's a very key moment. Gerald Ford himself would tell you that there's -- if he would have kept Rockefeller, he probably could have won. The selection of Dole turned out to be a disaster for him for this very reason.
You have to get into the racial politics of 1976 and what Carter's record had been up until that time, and understand that the Rockefeller family had been liberal Republicans from the Northeast who had been very, very generous to the civil rights movement.
O'BRIEN: All right. Final thought on, perhaps, vice presidents who have hurt the top of the ticket. Would you go along with the theory that Dan Quayle hurt the senior Bush?
BRINKLEY: There's absolutely on question about it. Dan Quayle was a disaster. Everybody, now, looking back at that election, realizes Quayle should have been dumped. He had become, whether rightfully or wrongfully, a public joke. He was fodder of comedians. Nobody took him serious. People didn't feel that he was a -- that could effectively be a commander in chief.
He has grown in stature, Dan Quayle, since back then, but he was fumbling so often that his name became synonymous with buffoonery. And the loyalty that President Bush showed to Quayle was really almost unimagined, and I think it cost him the presidency.
O'BRIEN: But people in America appreciate loyalty, don't they?
BRINKLEY: That's a line you've got to draw, and it's one that I think this president's clear that he's sticking with Dick Cheney at least right now, and loyalty is speaking very loudly, but there are many Republicans that'll tell you that he'd be better off with a Giuliani or a McCain or a Powell or a Rice or somebody who would be a more centrist candidate and bring the compassion back into Bush's conservatism....
Posted on: Wednesday, July 7, 2004 - 12:30
GLORIA BORGER, co-host:
John Kerry and John Edwards were fierce rivals during the Democratic primaries. Can a ticket work when running mates have lingering differences? Joining me now with some perspective are two presidential historians. In Boston, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and in New Orleans, Douglas Brinkley, who's also author of the book"Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War."
Thanks to both of you for being here tonight. Let me start with you, Doris. This is a very different model from the Dick Cheney choice, isn't it?
Ms. DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN (Presidential Historian): Oh, there's no question about that. I mean, obviously Mr. Bush, when choosing Cheney, needed somebody with age, with experience, with toughness to be an attack person, in a sense, whereas Kerry has chosen somebody younger, with vigor, with enthusiasm and a fresh face, who may or may not be the attack dog that we need or don't need, or that the people in the Democratic Party think they need or don't need.
BORGER: Doug Brinkley, you saw these guys during the primaries. They really were arguing with each other over some very fundamental issues about trade, John Kerry was disparaging John Edwards' youth and inexperience, and now they're running together.
Mr. DOUGLAS BRINKLEY (Presidential Historian): Well, that's politics, and they're both professionals. They have a great deal in common and they've had some differences. You mention trade--I mean, Kerry's been one of the bigger free traders. Edwards has been more hesitant, particularly about free trade with Africa, Chile and some other places. And there's no doubt about it, if you cut to the USC debate, when Edwards started pointing his finger and saying, 'Not so fast, John Kerry,' there's no doubt that Kerry was getting a little annoyed with Edwards, to put it mildly. But I think John Kerry's a professional, looked at the resumes, studied this carefully and decided that Edwards brings this sort of vigor to the ticket, and nobody else brought it.
BORGER: Well, I want to ask you, Doris, do they have to get along to be a good pairing as president and vice president? Historically, do they have to be friends?
Ms. GOODWIN: I don't think so. I mean, I think they need to project, in our media age, a certain kind of chemistry. I mean, if they were fighting fiercely during the campaign, the media would love such a story, and that wouldn't be good. But the most--Goldwater once said the most important thing you do when choosing your vice president is who's going to get you votes. And in the end, you know, people worry that maybe Kerry will be upstaged by the excitement of this new character coming on the ticket. But, in fact, Kerry will be the one, if he were to win, who gets"Hail to the Chief" sung to him. He'll be the one sitting in the Oval Office. So, whatever lingering doubts there may have been for both men, it's critical; they're both going to want to put them aside. He has given an incredible gift to Edwards, because nowadays, to be chosen as vice president, you have an incredible chance to become president some day. We may look back on this as the day that he had a giant leap forward to becoming president. So there's no reason for those doubts to continue. They'd be nuts if they let them surface.
BORGER: Well, speaking of becoming president, we had Elizabeth Edwards on our show when John Edwards was still very much involved in the primary process, and I want you both to just listen to what she said when I asked her how are Kerry and her husband different from each other.
(Beginning of clip from interview)
Ms. ELIZABETH EDWARDS (Wife of Senator John Edwards): They do have a few things that are different that are important difference. One is on trade. They have very different backgrounds on trade, and some people are going to come down on John Kerry's side, and some people, I hope, will...
BORGER: But what about character, values, the man?
Ms. EDWARDS: I can't speak about John Kerry. I don't have any reason to impugn his character. I wouldn't want to if I did, but I have no reason to. I know that John has an ethic--has the values and the priorities that we need in the presidency.
(End of clip)
BORGER: Doug Brinkley, is this going to be like a double date, this Kerry-Edwards--Gore-Clinton, people said was a double date. You heard Mrs. Edwards. She was tough.
Mr. BRINKLEY: Well, and I think she was getting a little bit naive about dealing with the media on that particular clip. Of course, I think they have one very major thing in common, and that's that both have experienced a great sense of loss. When I was working on my book, John Kerry constantly was writing about seeing his buddies killed in the Vietnam War, seeing a young life lost, and what does it mean? And I think a seminal moment in John Edwards' life is 1998, April, when he lost his son in a Jeep accident. And he wears a 'outward-bound' pin on, and the losing of that son has meant a lot. So there's a kind of deep, almost spiritual side to both of these two, and I think it's going to be the bond. You know, Governor Vilsack is a great friend of John Kerry, and he didn't get the nod. Both are Catholic, Kerry and Vilsack both. Edwards, you get a Southern Baptist, somebody whose church means a lot to him. Kerry has the Catholicism. And I think faith is a big part that these two are going to--that's going to unite this ticket.
Posted on: Wednesday, July 7, 2004 - 12:16
Last month, Jarek Mensfelt, spokesman for the Auschwitz memorial site, announced plans to preserve the ruins of the gas chambers and crematoria in the notorious death camp at Birkenau near the Polish town of Oswiecim."This is an attempt to keep it as it is now -- in ruins -- but not let the ruins go," he said."It was meant to be here forever as a warning."
In the coming weeks, as the Auschwitz preservationists begin their work, they should be guided by the knowledge that these heaps of dynamited concrete and twisted steel are not only historic artifacts but among the few remnants of untainted, forensic evidence of the Holocaust.
Of course, the historical and circumstantial evidence of a premeditated Nazi plan to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe is overwhelming. There are the watch-tower-girded enclosures of Nazi concentration camps and the extensive testimonials of Holocaust survivors, as well as the court protocols of Nazi war criminals, but there is little forensic evidence proving homicidal intent. The Nazis were scrupulous when it came to obscuring the"Final Solution" in bureaucratic euphemism and also dismantling or obliterating their machinery of death. The dearth of hard evidence has fueled a growth industry in Holocaust-denial.
The revisionists' plaint is simple: They demand a proverbial"smoking gun" to prove that the Nazis deliberately and systematically designed an industrial system of extermination. They do not deny that millions of European Jews died from malnutrition, exhaustion and disease. They do not even deny that Zyklon B gas was employed at Auschwitz, but they claim it was used for delousing rather than homicidal purposes. One French critic has denounced them as"assassins de la memoire" -- murderers of memory.
Auschwitz has been a particular target of Holocaust deniers -- in particular, the gas chamber in Auschwitz I, the original base camp a mile east of Birkenau. It was here that some of the first experiments with poison gas were undertaken in a converted air-raid shelter refitted with air-tight doors and special ducts for homicidal purposes. Dynamited by the Nazis in the autumn of 1944, the gas chamber was reconstructed after the war. As one revisionist notes:"The official view holds that the Soviets and Poles created a 'gas chamber' in an air-raid shelter that had been a 'gas chamber.' The revisionist view holds that Soviets and Poles created a 'gas chamber' in an air-raid shelter that had been an air-raid shelter."
While most serious historians refuse to dignify such statements with a response, Polish administrators have taken the bait. In response to revisionist charges, they tested the gas chamber walls for residual traces of cyanide gas but found none. Unlike the delousing chambers, whose walls still show cyanide"staining," the gas chambers betrayed no residual traces of Zyklon B. The homicidal process was so murderously brief that the cyanide never penetrated the interior surface. Similarly, it was found that repeated postwar" cleaning" had leached the last traces of cyanide from the heaps of human hair, one of the most damning pieces of Holocaust evidence.
Four years ago, this evidence was used by the revisionist David Irving in his libel suit against Emory University historian Deborah Lipstadt. Though the judge handed down an unequivocal verdict against Mr. Irving, the Holocaust deniers remain undeterred."While the judgment in the Irving-Lipstadt trial is certainly a heavy blow for Irving personally," a leading revisionist publication observed,"it is only a temporary setback for the ultimately unstoppable march of revisionist scholarship."
In the battle against Holocaust deniers, Birkenau's extermination facilities remain important forensic evidence....
Posted on: Wednesday, July 7, 2004 - 07:13
ANCHORS: ALAN MURRAY
BODY: ALAN MURRAY, host:
Americans will celebrate their independence this weekend with fireworks and festivities. There's also fear of terrorism and concern about scores of troops still in harm's way in Iraq. Joining me now with some perspective is presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, also a professor at the University of New Orleans.
And, Douglas, we saw after September 11th once again what a patriotic people Americans are. But when you have a war that some people disagree with, it gets more complicated, doesn't it?
Mr. DOUGLAS BRINKLEY (Presidential Historian): Well, certainly. As you say, after September 11th, it was the American flag everywhere, on lapels, in front yards, bumper stickers, and that's continued. If you watch, most politicians today still wear the American flag pin on their lapel. But clearly, this year, more and more people are getting angry about what's happening in Iraq. They don't think we should be there. The country's clearly divided on that issue. And we've got only a few months until a presidential election, and the poll numbers show Bush and Kerry even, so there's some contention out there this July Fourth.
MURRAY: But, you know, some of this goes back, clearly, to Vietnam, when patriotism began to be equated with sort of 'America, right or wrong' attitudes. There's no particular reason why you can't disagree with some aspect of our foreign policy and wave the flag, and love the Fourth of July, is there?
Mr. BRINKLEY: Well, of course. I mean, dissent was what our country was--we were born--we were the cradle of dissent. Our so-called Founding Fathers, be it, you know, Thomas Payne or Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, Ben Franklin--you could read off all those names. They were here breaking away from Great Britain, believing that individuals had the rights of free speech, that we had the right for representation if we were going to be taxed and to speak out. And clearly, that is a great, great tradition, and I can't think of anything more on July Fourth than speaking one's mind as patriotic as blowing off fireworks....
Posted on: Monday, July 5, 2004 - 12:46
ANCHOR: GABE PRESSMAN
BODY: GABE PRESSMAN, host:
It's the 228th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, a day to celebrate the beginning of our nation and the succession of great leaders who've led this country through the generations, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the declaration, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Our guests on this Fourth of July are two Lincoln scholars, former Governor Mario Cuomo, who's written a book called"Why Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever," and Harold Holzer, the author of 23 books on Lincoln, including his latest,"Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President." How would Lincoln, a brilliant orator, look at today's America?
Announcer: From Studio 6B in Rockefeller Center, this is a presentation from Newschannel 4, Gabe Pressman's NEWS FORUM. Now your host, senior correspondent Gabe Pressman.
PRESSMAN: Good morning and welcome, Mario Cuomo and Harold Holzer. How do you think Lincoln, whose debates with Douglas became legendary, would look at the presidential election campaign of 2004? Do you think, for example, that he'd appreciate the 30-second or 13-second soundbites?
Former Governor MARIO CUOMO (Author,"Why Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever"): The--first, let me clarify your credits. You--you said the--two Lincoln scholars. I would say that Harold Holzer is a true Lincoln scholar. I wouldn't put myself in that category, although I know an awful lot about Lincoln and have read him for longer than Harold has because I'm considerably older. But I think Lincoln would be very uncomfortable with today's politics and I can--I can't imagine any politician doing what Lincoln did at Cooper Union which--which Harold's book, you know, describes so beautifully.
The--that speech, Harold will argue and many of the real scholars will argue, made Lincoln. But it made him by demonstrating his extraordinary in--intelligence, his subtlety, his personal command of ideas and words. It was a--a tour de force by an individual.
PRESSMAN: How long were the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the average debate?
Mr. HAROLD HOLZER (Author,"Lincoln at Cooper Union"): Each one was three hours.
Mr. HOLZER: A 60-minute opening statement and then a 90-minute rebuttal and then a 30-minute re-rebuttal.
PRESSMAN: So how do you think he'd look at 13-second l--TV commercials?
Mr. HOLZER: Well, you know, i--the governor's right about the candidates being able to hold attention for that long, but there was also a different political culture in operation. And one in which people really demanded that candidates and leaders exhausted themselves and challenged them with rhetoric. People came to political events expecting to be entertained, informed, enlightened, convinced. They were prepared to spend a couple of hours of their day listening to politicians.
PRESSMAN: Is it less of a thinking culture today?
Mr. CUOMO: I don't think there's any question about that. I--I don't think in these upcoming conventions you're going to see any really long speeches. I remember a convention or so ago, the Republicans announcing their speeches would all be no longer than 15 minutes, I think. But what was the point of that? And they said, 'Well, people don't pay attention beyond that.' Now I...
PRESSMAN: How long was your famous speech in 1984?
Mr. CUOMO: Oh, much longer than that. It was 45, 46, 47 minutes at least, I guess, maybe. And there were an awful lot of--excuse me--interruptions so--well, it was closer to an hour probably.
PRESSMAN: Interruptions? There were cheers.
Mr. CUOMO: Well, it was closer--I think it was closer to--to an hour, but I--I don't remember. Then, of course, President Clinton, then--then Governor Clinton, gave a speech in '88 that was just as long.
PRESSMAN: It was...
Mr. CUOMO: It didn't go as well, but...
PRESSMAN: It was--it was ponderous.
Mr. CUOMO: Well, yeah. But at least--but the--but the difference was you could get away with long speeches in those years. I don't think you can do it now. I--I wish John Kerry would have--as a Democrat, I wish he'd have an hour to get up and--and describe exactly what he's all about. But I think the assumption is people wouldn't pay attention to that long.
PRESSMAN: Isn't it a fact, though, that 'letters of faith,' that 'right makes might,' those words by Lincoln s--said here in New York at Cooper Union in 1860, that that was a pretty concise summary of his feelings and--and his policy?
Mr. HOLZER: It was--it was concise, but it came at the end of 90 minutes of very careful legal and historical justification for the federal authority exercising its right to stop the spread of slavery. It came at the end of a--of sort of a--an imagined dialogue with the South in which he chastises them for anything they might do in the future to threaten the sanctity of the union and the idea that the country was based on the aspiration for human freedom....
Posted on: Monday, July 5, 2004 - 12:40
Fred Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Colorado, and the co-author of the forthcoming Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000, in the NYT (July 3, 2004):
Because the Fourth of July commemorates the birth of our Republic, we might easily imagine that the holiday had a central importance in the lives of the men who made the Revolution. For many, it did. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, mortally ill, clung to life until July 4, 1826, in order to see the 50th anniversary of independence. Jefferson's last words bespoke his determination:"Is it the Fourth?"
An intense focus on"the Glorious Fourth" characterized the 1820's, when the passing of the revolutionary generation gave Independence Day the kind of emotional resonance we have lately seen in World War II commemorations. Yet for George Washington, at least, the Fourth of July seems never to have been as significant a date as the third.
Indeed, in a letter Washington wrote on July 20, 1776, as he awaited the British invasion of New York, he made no mention of the independence proclaimed two weeks earlier, but noted only his"grateful remembrance" of"escape" at the battle of Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754. That defeat, in which a French and Indian force wiped out a third of Washington's Virginia Regiment, helped precipitate the 18th century's greatest conflict, the Seven Years' War.
Because France and Britain and their allies fought in North America, the West Indies, Europe, Africa, India and the Philippines, some have called it the first world war. Today Americans barely remember it, and know it (if they speak of it at all) only as the French and Indian War.
In fact this great war was a watershed in North American history. It began when Washington, acting in the name of King George II (and also on behalf of the land-speculating gentry of Virginia), tried to exert military control over the forks of the Ohio River, where Pittsburgh now stands. Because the river represented the main avenue to the heart of the continent, the empire that controlled the forks would in all likelihood determine North America's future.
The French, whose fragmented settlements stretched from the St. Lawrence River to the Mississippi River, understood this only too well. They also understood wilderness warfare much better than Colonel Washington, and had little trouble trapping him and his men in Fort Necessity, a pathetic stockade near what is now Farmington, Pa. At the end of a murderous day, Washington had no choice but to accept the terms of surrender that the enemy commander dictated in the rain-drenched dusk of July 3, 1754.... [Eventually, the British prevailed after a hard-fought war.]
The French and Indian War had convinced the colonists that they had achieved full partnership in a British empire that stood for liberty and individual rights — especially property rights — under the rule of law. When Parliament tried to impose order on the colonists between 1763 and 1775, however, it treated them not as partners but as mere subjects.
The colonists' sense of betrayal was palpable not because they understood themselves as Americans at the time, but because they saw themselves as British patriots who had shed their blood to preserve the rights that Parliament now seemed determined to destroy. ...
The 250th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Necessity reminds us that imperial victories can endanger the victor as much as the vanquished. Success in the Seven Years' War convinced Britain's leaders that their nation possessed the world's greatest military power. From that accurate perception, they drew the fatal inference that they had nothing to lose by using force against colonists whose genuine affection for British institutions, rights and liberties had hitherto constituted the empire's strongest bond.
In this light, the Revolution can be seen as an unintended and perhaps paradoxical consequence of imperial victory: an empire shattered when leaders, backed by tremendous military might, failed to understand that their only enduring basis of control lay in the consent of the governed.
Posted on: Sunday, July 4, 2004 - 09:09
Simon Sebag Montefiore, the author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, in the NYT (July 2, 2004):
...Aristotle said men do not become tyrants"to keep out the cold." They are motivated by forces that are as unfathomable as they are impractical. While we cannot say for sure what forces drove Mr. Hussein to achieve the rank of tyrant, we can say something about the man on whom he modeled himself: Stalin. By looking at how Stalin fared in Russian popular opinion after his death, we might also hazard a guess as to how Mr. Hussein and his image will fare during and after his trial.
Saddam Hussein admired, studied and copied Stalin, the paragon of modern dictators. Here's one story. Stalin had 15 scenic seaside villas, some of them czarist palaces, on the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia. In 2002, I visited and photographed these extraordinarily well-preserved Stalinist time capsules. At one point, I asked an old caretaker if any other Westerners had visited them."No," she replied,"but there was an Arab gentleman in 1970's who insisted on visiting every one!" His name?"Saddam Hussein."
According to Mr. Hussein's courtiers, he was obsessed with Stalin. Kurdish politicians who visited his apartments recall seeing shelves of Stalin biographies, translated just for him into Arabic.
Small wonder. The parallels are powerful: Gori, Stalin's Georgian birthplace, and Tikrit, Mr. Hussein's hometown, are barely 500 miles apart. Both men were raised by strong ambitious mothers, abused by useless fathers, inspired to greatness by stepfatherish patrons. Both found absolutist belief and personal respect in radicalism: Bolshevism and Baathism respectively. Neither seized power overnight; instead, both eased into supremacy through a mixture of patronage and personality within a tiny one-party oligarchy. Both were promoted by revered potentates whom they ultimately crossed.
And both were avid avengers. In 1937, Stalin orchestrated a terror against erstwhile comrades, making them accuse one another at a Central Committee Plenum, then supervise one another's torture and execution; in 1979, Mr. Hussein parodied this at a filmed Baathist conference in which his"enemies" were named, then shot downstairs by their colleagues.
When such characters find and embrace their creed, self-belief fuses with fanatical ideological devotion. Once Vasily Stalin dropped his father's name:"I'm called Stalin too," insisted Vasily."No," shouted Stalin."You're not Stalin and I'm not Stalin. Stalin is Soviet power." The question today is whether the same will be said of Mr. Hussein and Iraq....
Posted on: Friday, July 2, 2004 - 12:22
Political Scientist Stephen R. Shalom, in Tom Engelhardt's TomDispatch (July 1, 2004):
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
1. How has the current King George shown his"decent respect for the opinions of mankind"?a. He went to war against Iraq despite overwhelming popular opposition around the world and despite the absence of any UN authorization. (The percentage of the population supporting unilateral war by the United States and its allies was 3% in Argentina, 10% in Britain, 5% in Bulgaria, 8% in India, 3% in Malaysia, 9% in South Africa, 4% in Spain, 5% in Switzerland, and so on.)
b. He has pursued policies that have led huge majorities in many countries to have a negative opinion of him (in March 2004, 85% unfavorable in Germany and France, 55% in Britain, 90% in Morocco, and 96% in Jordan).
c. He dismissed the largest protests in world history in which many millions of people opposed his Iraq war plans, declaring,"You know, the size of protests is like deciding, well, I'm going to decide policy based upon a focus group."
d. He ignored the United Nations' refusal to authorize war against Iraq by proclaiming that"America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people."
e. All of the above.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
2. How has the current King George shown his belief in the consent of the governed?a. He took office after his cronies in Florida disenfranchised tens of thousands of African Americans who were legally entitled to vote in the 2000 election.
b. He handpicked an Iraqi leader -- who had worked for the CIA and had engaged in terrorism on its behalf in Iraq in the 1990s -- even though that leader was disapproved of by 61% of the Iraqi population.
c. After a failed coup attempt backed by Washington against Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, an administration official stated that, although Chavez had been"democratically elected," one had to bear in mind that"legitimacy is something that is conferred not just by a majority of the voters."
d. Bush extended long-standing U.S.-Israeli opposition to self-determination for the Palestinian people by endorsing for the first time Israel's permanent retention of major illegal settlement blocs on the West Bank.
e. All of the above.
--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
3. How has the current King George furthered our safety and happiness?a. In the two years since September 11, 2001, less potential nuclear weapons material that might fall into the hands of terrorists has been secured than was secured in the two years prior to the attacks.
b. Significant terrorist attacks were at a 20-year high in 2003 and there were more than twice as many terrorist attacks attributed to al Qaeda-linked or identified groups since 9/11 as in their entire pre-9/11 history.
c. Former CIA director George J. Tenet said in February 2004 that the world was at least as ''fraught with dangers for American interests'' as it was before the Iraq war began.
d. The Bush administration is planning to deploy a national missile defense system later this year, a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that will fuel the global arms race, does not work (the system has been put through only 8 unrealistic tests, and failed 3 of them), ignores real threats (like port security), and, in the words of 31 former government officials, is a"sham" that"will provide no real defense."
e. All of the above.
... He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
4. In the United States there is supposed to be a"volunteer" military. How has the current King George dealt with this force?a. He has ordered some soldiers' tours of duty to be involuntarily extended by as much as 18 months.
b. His White House budget office issued a memo calling for more than $900 million in cuts from veterans programs after the election.
c. His"No Child Left Behind" education law requires high schools to provide military recruiters with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their students -- which the military hopes will"boost" recruitment.
d. Rather than withdrawing troops from Iraq and saving lives, both U.S. and Iraqi, he has ordered that the media may not show pictures of the flag-draped caskets of dead soldiers.
e. All of the above.
...For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
5. How has the current King George tried to protect soldiers who commit crimes?a. He has refused to permit the United States to adhere to the International Criminal Court and has successfully pressured large numbers of allied countries to agree never to invoke its provisions against US troops.
b. After failing to get his third consecutive Security Council grant of immunity for U.S. troops, he had his top official in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, unilaterally extend Order 17, which immunizes U.S. and other coalition forces from Iraqi legal process.
c. He has blamed"a few bad apples" for the torture and murders that have taken place in our offshore prison system, rather than acknowledging that, as Human Rights Watch has stated,"This pattern of abuse did not result from the acts of individual soldiers who broke the rules. It resulted from decisions made by the Bush administration to bend, ignore, or cast rules aside."
d. He has refused to declassify many relevant documents on the subject of torture deliberations within the administration, but documents that have been leaked or made public show that government lawyers advised: (1) interrogators who torture al Qaeda or Taliban captives could be exempt from prosecution under the president's powers as commander in chief; (2) it's not torture if the interrogator knows that his or her actions will cause severe pain and suffering but doesn't specifically intend to cause severe pain and suffering; and (3) it's not torture unless the level of physical pain inflicted is equivalent to that of"organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."
e. All of the above.
...For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
6. What are the features of the current King George's tax policies?a. Taxes have been cut 12% for the very rich, 7% for the middle class, and 3% for the poor.
b. The middle class and poor will lose more from government spending cuts than they gain from the tax cuts.
c. According to former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, when a new tax cut for the rich was proposed, Bush asked his advisers,"Didn't we already give them a break at the top?" -- though the president soon endorsed the cut -- and when O'Neill warned that new tax cuts would be economically unsound, Vice President Dick Cheney told him:"We won the midterms [elections]. This is our due."
d. His administration gave a $10 billion homeland security contract to a subsidiary of Accenture, the former consulting arm of Arthur Anderson & Co. which moved to Bermuda to avoid paying U.S. taxes, and then the administration got the House of Representatives to reverse its ban on giving such contracts to offshore tax avoiders.
e. All of the above.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
7. Which of the following are characteristics of justice under the current King George?a. He has transported people across the seas to the U.S.-occupied military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to a host of detention facilities around the world, known and unknown, where people have not been tried or even charged with offenses, whether real or pretended.
b. Of the more than 5,000 foreign nationals arrested in the United States since 9/11 in anti-terrorist"preventive detention," only three have been charged with any terrorist crime; of these, two were acquitted and the third was convicted only after the main prosecution witness lied on the stand.
c. According to information U.S. military intelligence officials gave to the Red Cross, 70-90% of the people imprisoned in Iraq were arrested in error.
d. He has turned prisoners over to the custody of foreign governments -- such as Canadian citizen Maher Arar who was arrested in the U.S., denied a lawyer, and sent to Syria for 10 months of torture. As one U.S. official explained,"We don't kick the
s[hit] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the s[hit] out of them."
e. All of the above.
...He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
8. How has the current King George plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, and destroyed our cities and people?a. He has leased an area for oil and natural gas drilling just 100 miles off the coast of Florida, endangering the state's beaches, and has favored an energy bill that would empower the Secretary of the Interior to allow offshore drilling in areas currently subject to drilling moratoria.
b. He has rejected the Kyoto Protocol which would address to some degree the problem of global warming, a major cause of coastal erosion.
c. His administration is calling for deep cuts in the funding of housing vouchers for the poor and changes in the program that are"more sweeping and threatening to the low-income families and elderly and disabled people whom the program serves [than]... any proposal advanced by any prior Administration" since the voucher program was created under President Nixon. This would devastate low-income families and the cities in which they live.
d. His plan to deal with pollution from coal-burning power plants will lead to 8,000 additional deaths per year compared to a competing plan, according to a study by the mainstream research firm, Abt Associates.
e. All of the above.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
9. How has the current King George, who once said"America must never outsource America's national security," used mercenaries, foreign and domestic?a. There are some 15,000-20,000 private" contract employees" in security roles in Iraq -- mercenaries -- making them the second largest military force in the country, after the U.S. armed forces, and making Iraq the biggest market ever for private military services.
b. Among the tasks assigned by the U.S. to mercenaries has been the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners, which has led to the widespread use of torture, for which private contractors cannot easily be brought to justice. As one commentator noted,"This legal grey zone may well not be entirely accidental, of course. It means that private contractors can be used to do dirty work for the military or the CIA with plausible deniability and relative immunity."
c. Among the mercenaries recruited for service in Iraq have been former assassins for the apartheid regime in South Africa, veterans of the Chilean military under Pinochet and the Serbian military under Milosevic, the commander of a murderous military unit in Northern Ireland, arms smugglers, and coup plotters.
d. Scholar Deborah Avant of George Washington University noted that because of private security firms,"leaders in Washington and other Western capitals now have the freedom to intervene abroad and pay little domestic political price. ...'it's certainly a factor that allows countries, including the United States, to do things when there simply isn't widespread public support.'"
e. All of the above.
...A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
10. Which of the following acts show that the current King George is unfit to be the ruler of a free people?a. He has systematically deceived the American people to lead us into war and for other nefarious purposes.
b. He has raised government secrecy to new heights, denying the people, the Congress, and the courts the ability to oversee the operations of the executive branch.
c. According to Amnesty International,"The global security agenda promoted by the U.S. Administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle. Violating rights at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad and using pre-emptive military force where and when it chooses has damaged justice and freedom, and made the world a more dangerous place."
d. He has attacked working people (for example, issuing regulations that would allow millions of workers to be deprived of overtime pay), women (appointing judges hostile to reproductive rights), gay men and lesbians (calling for an amendment banning same-sex marriage), and racial and ethnic minorities (opposing affirmative action).
e. All of the above and much, much more.
Answers and Sources
"E. All of the above." is the answer to each question.
a. Gallup International Iraq Poll 2003, Jan. 2003 (zip file). In the U.S., 33% favored war without UN authorization. In no other country surveyed did more than 20% of the population favor unilateral war.
b. Pew Global Attitudes Project,"A Year After Iraq War: Mistrust Of America In Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists: A Nine-Country Survey," Washington, DC: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 3/16/04 (pdf).
c."President unbowed by protests," Seattle Times, 2/19/03, p. A1.
d. State of the Union Address, Jan. 20, 2004.
a. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, "Voting Irregularities in Florida During the 2000 Presidential Election," Washington, DC: June 2001.
b. "Public Opinion in Iraq: First Poll Following Abu Ghraib Revelations, Baghdad, Basrah, Mosul, Hillah, Diwaniyah, Baqubah, 14-23 May 2004," 6/15/04, p. 15; Joel Brinkley,"Ex-C.I.A. Aides Say Iraq Leader Helped Agency in 90's Attacks," NYT, 6/9/04, p. A1. Washington likes to pretend that UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi chose Allawi, but, as Brahimi noted, U.S. proconsul Paul Bremer"is the dictator of Iraq." Bremer"has the money. He has the signature. Nothing happens without his agreement in this country." The Washington Post adds:"U.S. officials in Baghdad have denied that the occupation authority exerted pressure or sought to promote certain candidates over others. But Iraqis involved in the process said that Bremer and White House envoy Robert D. Blackwill backed Iyad Allawi for prime minister over other candidates because Allawi was regarded as more sympathetic to the Bush administration's desire to maintain full U.S. control over troops in Iraq." Rajiv Chandrasekaran,"Envoy Bowed to Pressure in Choosing Leaders," Washington Post (WP), 6/3/04, p. A10.
c. Christopher Marquis,"Bush Officials Met With Venezuelans Who Ousted Leader," New York Times (NYT), 4/16/02, p. A1. A Defense Department official summarized the U.S. role in the coup:"We were not discouraging people," the official said."We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy. We didn't say, 'No, don't you dare,' and we weren't advocates saying, 'Here's some arms; we'll help you overthrow this guy.' We were not doing that."
d. Elisabeth Bumiller,"In Major Shift, Bush Endorses Sharon Plan and Backs Keeping Some Israeli Settlements," NYT, 4/15/04, p. A6. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry rushed to add his voice of endorsement to the Bush-Sharon announcement: Dana Milbank and Mike Allen,"Move Could Help Bush Among Jewish Voters," WP, 4/15/04, p. A16.
a. Matthew Bunn And Anthony Wier, Securing The Bomb: An Agenda For Action, Project On Managing The Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, May 2004 (pdf).
b. Farah Stockman,"State Dept. Doubles '03 Terrorism Death Toll," Boston Globe (BG), 6/23/04, p. A8; Audrey Kurth Cronin, Congressional Research Service, memorandum to the House Government Reform Committee,"Terrorist Attacks by Al Qaeda," 3/31/04 (pdf).
c. Douglas Jehl,"Tenet Says Dangers to U.S. Are at Least as Great as a Year Ago," NYT, 2/25/04, p. A15.
d. Steven Weinberg,"Can Missile Defense Work?," New York Review of Books, 2/14/02, pp. 41-47; Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation In cooperation with the Center for Defense Information (CDI) and the Union of Concerned Scientists, Briefing Book on Ballistic Missile Defense, May 2004 (pdf); CDI, "On Eve Of Key Defense Authorization Vote, 31 Former Government Officials Call Missile Defense Deployment 'Sham'," 5/7/04.
a. David Lamb,"When the Army Won't Let Go; With stop-loss orders extending tours up to 18 months, GIs banking on going home grapple with heading back to combat in Iraq instead," Los Angeles Times (LAT), 6/17/04, p. A20.
b. Jonathan Weisman,"2006 Cuts in Domestic Spending on Table," WP, 5/27/04, p. A1.
c. Susan Milligan,"Military Recruiters Getting A Foot In Door Federal Education Bill Requires High Schools To Share Student Data," BG, 11/21/02, p. A3. Some school systems have been resisting: see, e.g., Tamar Lewin,"Uncle Sam Wants Student Lists, and Schools Fret," NYT, 1/29/04, p. B10; Fred Alvarez,"Veterans Group Fights Policy That Gives Student Data to Recruiters," LAT, 4/18/04, p. B5.
d. Dana Milbank,"Curtains Ordered for Media Coverage of Returning Coffins," WP, 10/21/03, p. A23; Sheryl Gay Stolberg,"Senate Backs Ban on Photos of G.I. Coffins," NYT, 6/22/04, p. A17.
a. Human Rights Watch (HRW), "The United States and the International Criminal Court"; HRW, "United States Efforts to Undermine the International Criminal Court: Legal Analysis of Impunity Agreements," Sept. 2002; HRW,"Bilateral Immunity Agreements," 6/20/03 (pdf). Not all of the agreements are publicly announced; for the latest list of bilateral immunity agreements, see Coalition for the International Criminal Court,"Status Of US Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs)," as of 6/15/04 (pdf).
b. Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 17 (Revised),"Status of the Coalition Provisional Authority, MNF - Iraq, Certain Missions and Personnel in Iraq, 6/27/04 (pdf).
c. HRW, "The Road to Abu Ghraib," June 2004.
d. Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Memorandum for Alberto R. Gonzalez, Counsel to the President, 8/1/02 (pdf); Working Group Report on Detainee Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism, "Assessment of Legal, Historical, Policy, and Operational Considerations," 3/6/03; HRW, "U.S.: Released Documents on Torture Not Sufficient," 6/23/04.
a. Citizens for Tax Justice,"Overall Tax Rates Have Flattened Sharply Under Bush," 4/13/04 (pdf).
b. William G. Gale, Peter R. Orszag, and Isaac Shapiro, "The Ultimate Burden of the Tax Cuts: Once the Tax Cuts are Paid For, Low- and Middle-Income Households Likely to Be Net Losers, on Average," Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and Tax Policy Center (Urban Institute and Brookings Institution), 6/2/04.
c. Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004, pp. 299, 291.
d."House Reverses Bar on Security Project for Accenture," Wall Street Journal, 6/17/04, p. A6.
a. Human Rights First, Ending Secret Detentions, New York: June 2004 (pdf).
b. David Cole,"Outlaws on Torture," The Nation, 6/28/04, p. 8.
c. Frances Williams,"Most detainees in Iraq arrested by mistake, says Red Cross," Financial Times, 5/11/04, p. 10.
d. Christopher H. Pyle,"Torture by proxy: How immigration threw a traveler to the wolves," San Francisco Chronicle (SFC), 1/4/04, p. D1. See also DeNeen L. Brown and Dana Priest,"Deported Terror Suspect Details Torture in Syria," WP, 11/5/03, p. A1; the legal complaint filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Maher Arar v. Ashcroft et al., 1/22/04; and William F. Schulz, et al., Letter to Department of Defense General Counsel Haynes, 11/17/03.
a. League of Conservation Voters (LCV), "Unambiguous Facts: The Bush Record on Florida Offshore Drilling," May 2004. LCV has been criticized by some (e.g., Factcheck.org), but see LCV, "Florida Drilling Ad: Script and Facts," and letter from Mark P. Longabaugh to Brooks Jackson, FactCheck.org, Annenberg Public Policy Center, 5/27/04 (pdf).
b. K. Zhang K., B.C. Douglas, and S.P. Leatherman,"Global Warming and Coastal Erosion," Climatic Change, vol. 64, no. 1-2, May 2004, pp. 41-58; Andrew C. Revkin,"Bush's Shift Could Doom Air Pact, Some Say," NYT, 3/17/01, p, A7.
c Barbara Sard and Will Fischer "Administration Seeks Deep Cuts in Housing Vouchers and Conversion of Program to a Block Grant," revised 3/24/04, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
d. Michael Janofsky,"Study Ranks Bush Plan to Cut Air Pollution as Weakest of 3," NYT, 6/10/04, p. A16.
9 (Bush quoted in Peter W. Singer, "Outsourcing the War,"Salon.com, 4/16/04.)
a. Peter W. Singer, "Warriors for Hire in Iraq,"Salon.com, 4/15/04; Peter W. Singer, "Beyond the Law,"Guardian, 5/3/04; P.W. Singer,"A Privatized Military Industry Is Taking Over the Work of War," BG, 10/19/03, p. L12.
c. Julian Rademeyer, "Iraq victim was top-secret apartheid killer,"Sunday Times (South Africa), 4/18/04; Louis Nevaer, "Here Come the Death Squad Veterans,"Alternet, 6/16/04; Charles M. Sennott,"Security Firm's $293m Deal Under Scrutiny," BG, 6/22/04, p. A1; Jonathan Franklin,"US contractor recruits guards for Iraq in Chile," Guardian, 3/5/04, p. 14; Antony Barnett, Solomon Hughes and Jason Burke,"Mercenaries in 'coup plot' guarded UK officials in Iraq," Observer, 6/6/04, p. 12.
d. Robert Collier,"Global security firms fill in as private armies," SFC, 3/28/04, p. A1.
a. See David Corn, The Lies of George Bush, Mastering the Politics of Deception, updated edition; U.S. House Of Representatives, Committee On Government Reform -- Minority Staff, Special Investigations Division, Iraq On The Record: The Bush Administrations Public Statements On Iraq. Prepared For Rep. Henry A. Waxman, 3/16/04 (pdf).
b. Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Assessing The New Normal: Liberty and Security for the Post-September 11 United States, New York: Sept. 2003, chapter 1: Open Government (pdf).
c. Amnesty International, "Report 2004: War on global values -- attacks by armed groups and governments fuel mistrust, fear and division," press release, 5/26/2004.
d. See Ross Eisenbrey, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, 5/4/04; NARAL Pro-Choice America, "The Real Judicial Selection Crisis: The Bush Administrations Bid to Force an Anti-Choice Majority," 5/1/02; "NARAL Pro-Choice America Releases New Study Detailing the Growing Threat to Right to Choose by Bush Judicial Nominees," 5/9/03; the White House, "President calls for an amendment banning gay marriage," 2/24/04; Citizens' Commission On Civil Rights,"The Bush Administration v. Affirmative Action: Justice Department Drags Feet on Upholding Court Ruling," Washington, DC: 12/9/03 (pdf); Leadership Conference On Civil Rights Education Fund, The Bush Administration Takes Aim: Civil Rights Under Attack, Washington, DC: April 2003 (pdf).
Posted on: Friday, July 2, 2004 - 11:12
Linda Vergnani, in the Australian (June 30, 2004):
FOR Australian Alison Bashford, the drastic measures taken to control the recent SARS scare and the frightening imagery of people quarantined away were all too familiar.
A senior history lecturer at the University of Sydney, she is at the forefront of research into medical quarantine and border control....
"When it comes to infectious diseases, governments still grapple with the question: Under what powers can states compulsorily detain people so they can't move from one place to another, and what is the difference between that and imprisonment?" Some of these issues will be examined from tomorrow at an international conference on Medicine at the Border, which Bashford has organised at Sydney University. With the toll taken by modern diseases such as HIV and the emergence of illnesses such as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, the response to her web-based call for papers was impressive. Sixty speakers from across the globe will deal with topics ranging from mad cow disease to the threats of smallpox bio-terrorism.
Bashford says the gathering is unique in that it will bring historians together with commentators on migration, global movement and health. Among the speakers will be epidemiologists, anthropologists and political scientists. Experts will examine the effect of medico-legal control measures, not only on citizens and travellers but also on asylum-seekers and migrants. For example, former Woomera detention centre nurse Glenda Koutroulis will examine how the Australian Government has associated political asylum-seekers with contagion.
According to Bashford, Australia still has the strictest quarantine policies in the world. But other countries, including the UK, are considering adopting some of our medical border-control policies such as compulsory TB testing of migrants.
Conference keynote speaker Richard Coker, senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, recently came out strongly against the British Government's plan, arguing that such coercive policies contravened the European Convention, were not effective and should be rejected.
Bashford, whose book Imperial Hygiene was released in January, began her research for the tome -- examining quarantine and disease control in Australia until the 1950s -- at the historic Sydney quarantine station at North Head, just minutes from where she lives.
Situated alongside a crescent of golden beach, the complex looks like a disused brick factory with workers' housing. Yet for 521 people, landing at this beach was the last journey they made. Walking through the quarantine station grounds, Bashford points out the memorial tributes carved into the soft sandstone by ships' crews. On a ridge overlooking the bay is the hospital, now a museum, complete with iron bedsteads, bedpans and the rather ghostly suspended uniform of a nurse.
Quarantining began at North Head in 1828, when the smallpox-infected passengers of a convict ship were detained in the cove. As the station grew and the crew and passengers of passing ships were interned, procedures became more institutionalised. On arrival the healthy were separated from the sick, who were immediately hospitalised. Belongings were sterilised in giant autoclaves and inmates forced to shower in the caustic disinfectant phenol. The station had a mortuary and graveyards.
Bashford's book describes the 1881 smallpox epidemic, during which infected Sydney residents and their contacts were first confined to their homes but later forcibly removed to the quarantine station. One case that particularly moved her was of Sydney resident John Hughes who, with other affected men, was confined to a hulk in the bay while his wife and children were detained onshore at the quarantine station.
"He kept escaping from the ship and swimming to shore to see his dying
child," she says. "They ended up putting him in leg irons to stop
him escaping." In between writing chapters of her book, Bashford explored
the dense bushland near her home and stumbled on a neglected cemetery, dating
back to the 1881 epidemic. She was amazed to find the headstone of Hughes's
daughter and other smallpox victims whose poignant stories she had just read
in the archives....