May 14, 2004
Bye Bye Bangladesh Because of Bush
"Should Bangladesh begin to disappear under water, people will recall that the administration refused to act to stem global warming despite a virtual consensus of scientific opinion on the subject." - Magazine contributing writer James Traub, May 9.
"Thoughtful" Joe Wilson vs "Ranters" O'Reilly and Hannity
"In recent weeks, serious political books have flooded the best-seller lists, replacing the rants from left and right-the Michael Moores or Bill O'Reilly's-with reasoned and supported arguments. During that shift, the television book tour has been more crucial than ever in generating news from these works.[Richard] Clarke's forceful narrative and behind-the-scenes details allow him to make a strong case that the Bush White House dangerously neglected terrorism in favor of going after Iraq. Like Mr. O'Neill and Mr. Wilson, he had served under Republican administrations, and each of these books carries the weight of someone who reluctantly, thoughtfully, changed his mind about a former boss's policies.Now, so many books have some version of secrets and lies in the titles or subtitles that they create the image of a Pinocchio president whose nose should be growing before our very eyes.Sean Hannity's 'Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and Liberalism' already seems a throwback to the days when screeds dominated the best-seller list..." - Book reviewer Caryn James, May 14.
Another Day, Another Republican Bush Critic To Gush Over
"With his white hair and erect posture-a remnant of his Navy days after enlisting at age 17 to serve during World War II-the senator is known as the 'the Squire' on Capitol Hill. The word most often used to describe him is 'dignified.' In the Senate, [Sen. John] Warner has demonstrated a willingness to speak his mind. In 2002 he helped orchestrate the ouster of Senator Trent Lott, the former Republican leader, over racially charged remarks. He describes himself as 'quite loyal to the president of the United States,' but he was willing to stand with Democrats this year when they fought for an extension of the ban on assault weapons, over Mr. Bush's objections. Democrats generally give Senator Warner high marks. - Sheryl Gay Stolberg on moderate Republican Sen. John Warner, May 12.
Pro-Abortion, Anti-Gun "Tolerance"
"Still, the controversy seemed to catch many people off guard in New Jersey, a state where public opinion polls have consistently found voters to hold liberal views on issues like abortion, gun control and gay rights. That social tolerance has allowed moderate Republicans to stave off challenges from the conservatives who have gained power in much of the country." - New Jersey editor David Kocieniewski on the controversy over pro-abortion politicians taking communion, May 11.
Abu Ghraib = My Lai
"Just trust us, Donald Rumsfeld said early in 2002, when he declared that 'enemy combatants'-a term that turned out to mean anyone, including American citizens, the administration chose to so designate-don't have rights under the Geneva Convention. Now people around the world talk of an 'American gulag,' and Seymour Hersh is exposing My Lai all over again." -
Columnist Paul Krugman, May 11.
"It was in November 1969 that a little-known reporter, Seymour Hersh, broke the story of the 1968 massacre at My Lai, the horrific scoop that has now found its match 35 years later in Mr. Hersh's New Yorker revelation of a 53-page Army report detailing 'numerous instances of 'sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses' at Abu Ghraib.' No doubt some future edition of the Pentagon Papers will explain just why we restored Saddam Hussein's hellhole to its original use, torture rooms included, even as we allowed Baghdad's National Library, a repository of Mesopotamia's glorious pre-Baath history, to be looted and burned." - Arts editor Frank Rich, May 9.
Bush's Tax Cuts Killing Social Programs?
"The Bush administration's tax cuts for the well-to-do have taken a heavy toll on the nation's most important social programs for the poor and working class. Prominent casualties include child care assistance for working mothers and federal aid for needy college students. The latest victim appears to be Section 8, the government's main housing program for the poor." - Opening line to the lead editorial of May 10.
US Must Be "Less High-Handed and Arrogant"
"But European officials familiar with the contents said they expected that in light of widespread outrage over American soldiers' abuse of Iraq prisoners, even this new, toned-down document would have to be revised extensively to make it seem less high-handed and arrogant." -
Steven Weisman on European reaction to Bush's "Greater Middle East Initiative," May 13.
"Berg's Murder Worse Than Abu Ghraib" = Sanctioning Torture of Arabs
"It is impossible not to feel grief, and horror, at his terrible end. The claim of this young American's murderers that they were retaliating for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners is a cruel ruse. They killed him out of the same madness that drove their comrades in Al Qaeda to slaughter thousands on Sept. 11, 2001. But this manipulative attempt to establish a moral equivalence between the gruesome execution of Mr. Berg and the torture of Iraqi prisoners is now being mimicked by some hard-core supporters of the American war in Iraq. They are cynically trying to use the images of Mr. Berg to wipe away the images of Abu Ghraib, turning the abhorrence for the murderers into an excuse for demonizing Arabs and Muslims, or for sanctioning their torture." - Editorial on the murder of Nicholas Berg, May 14.
Bush In Trouble
"Voters' growing disapproval of administration policies is an early warning sign that the incumbent may be in deep trouble, experts say." -
Elisabeth Rosenthal, May 14.
On Top of the Big Stories
"Europeans Like Bush Even Less Than Before." - Headline to a May 9 story by Sarah Lyall.