Economist, June 10
An editorial cautions that the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi does not signal the end of insurgency. Zarqawi’s brand of Islamic jihad will continue because the well of believers is deep, the author writes, adding that sectarian violence also will fester for nonreligious reasons. “These range from a simple nationalist, Arabist outrage at the spectacle of foreign, infidel occupation to a deep fear, especially among Iraq’s formerly dominant Sunni Arab minority, of what the future holds.” … With Islamic militants having overtaken the Somali capital city of Mogadishu without much resistance from ruling secular warlords, a piece reports that American leaders worry that Somalia will lay out the welcome mat for al-Qaida. But some argue that Muslim militias may be more effective leaders than Somalia’s weak current government. “Reports from the capital say that many of its people, even secular-minded ones, reckon the Islamists look less brutal and greedy than the warlords they have displaced.”—M.M.
New Republic, June 19
The cover story examines the xenophobic populism currently thriving in many European countries. The authors find that hostility to immigration correlates strongly with levels of economic dissatisfaction. But while perceptions of the economy drive nativist politics, the authors predict that immigration is too important to the growth of free markets for moderate conservatives to sign off on a populist agenda. They suggest that by splintering the right, immigration will ultimately strengthen the mainstream left. … The editors call upon NATO to restore peace in Darfur. While American troops are overextended, the editorial argues that leadership, not manpower, should be the primary U.S. contribution to an initial invasion. Though intervention involves risks similar to Iraq, namely inciting a jihad, the editors downplay this possibility. And though “the rebels are no angels it is not for the rebel groups that we must go to Darfur. It is for the millions of civilians in camps whose relatives have been killed.”—N.R.
Washington Post Magazine, June 11 A writer chronicles his quest to steer a nephew away from his family’s legacy of drug use, poverty, and illegitimacy. “How to save a child who is loved by the same people who loved you, the same people who—perhaps unwittingly and unaware—laid their shadows and growing demons in your path?” asks Uncle Wil. He checks on young Andre’s welfare and grades, frets over his asthma, and shows him the “giantness” of the Lincoln Memorial. But Uncle Wil can’t fix the family or the world. “When I left Andre off at home, it was in a neighborhood where the flashy rides and sharp clothes belonged to criminals,” he writes. … The distant hum of a lawn mower was the only connection a fastidious gardener had to the man who owned property neighboring his weekend home. And when the drone stopped, his family knew that something was wrong with their mysterious neighbor. The absent buzz led to their first meeting with the wounded lawn-mower man—an encounter that may have saved his life.—M.M
New York, June 12
An article assesses the nascent presidential ambitions of New York Gov. George Pataki as he begins the primary-campaign gauntlet: “If he grasps what’s good for him, he’ll decide to enjoy it in upstate New York and not in central Iowa.” … The cover piece by the parents of twin newborns about New York City’s multiple birth “outbreak” gets to the bottom of the phenomenon (fertility treatments and older women having children) and reveals that multiple-birth pregnancies are not as storybook as they seem to be. Marriages can buckle under the strain, there are serious health risks involved, and couples sometimes face the decision of reducing the number of babies carried. … James J. Cramer thinks Treasury nominee Henry Paulson can get the job done: “Paulson has a unique ability to convince the world that the U.S. economy doesn’t, in fact, stink.”—Z.K.
New York Times Magazine, June 11 An article in the “money issue” looks at how student-loan debt affects career choices and society. The piece contends that the daunting payback process causes students to shun loans, choose less expensive (and hence less prestigious) schools, or skip college altogether. Its suggested solutions include debt forgiveness for public-sector and rural jobs, housing subsidies for less lucrative careers in communities in need, and even financially penalizing students who choose the private sector. … A piece explores the economics of human smuggling through the story of a Chinese boy brought into the United States by a “snakehead” at his family’s request. Chen spent years in low-wage jobs paying off the transaction and afraid of being sent back to China but still lonely in America. Immigrants like him, sent here as children, are increasingly considered “trafficking victims” and may have recourse to stay here permanently, but they are still lost children in many ways.— M.M.
The Nation, June 19
A review of new books by activists Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji accuses them of perpetuating the fallacy that women under Muslim rule are unable to speak for themselves. It also argues that Hirsi Ali and Manji offer “individual examples of malfeasance and then extrapolate to the entire body of Muslims.” The review claims that their gripes are either not unique to Islam, as in Hirsi Ali’s crusade against female genital mutilation, or simply misinformed, as in Manji’s accusation that Muslim communities lack voices of dissent. The author rejects their call for Western interference, arguing that women’s liberation must occur through bottom-up organization. … The cover story profiles Latino activists in their effort to secure better wages, healthier working conditions, and ultimately legal status for illegal immigrants. In addition to traditional boycotts and marches, they spread their message on Spanish-language radio and through mobile representatives who organize migrant workers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.—N.R.
Rolling Stone, June 15
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues this week, in an article that’s been criticized by both Salon and Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal, that John Kerry lost Ohio in 2004 because of the Republicans’ efforts to suppress the vote. Kennedy contends that he has “become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. … [I]n Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004—more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.” … Janet Reitman revisits the Duke lacrosse scandal, looking at why many women on campus support the players. The so-called laxers, Reitman writes, “tend to be the most desired and most confident guys on campus. They’re fun. And they’re hot.” One student tells her, “It’s a BMOC thing. They have it all—you want to be a part of that.”—D.S.
Time and Newsweek, June 12
Haditha: Cover articles shed some light on what led up to the alleged atrocity at Haditha. Newsweek talks to residents of Haditha, such as a 12-year-old girl who says she wishes she died along with her parents, siblings, and an aunt. To her, “Americans are murders, criminals.” The article also quotes soldiers and a military wife who allege that units are rife with drug use. Further, most soldiers are ill-trained to fight insurgency, the piece contends. “Young men join the Marines to be like the warriors in those recruiting ads, brave knights in noble combat,” the authors write. “They do not imagine they’re joining a military version of the Peace Corps to be humanitarian workers.” A Time article explores apathy toward war atrocities among Iraqis, who became inured to extreme violence under Saddam Hussein. Civilian deaths perpetrated by “Shi’ite death squads or Sunni insurgents and jihadis” are more pervasive than American-caused casualties, the writer reports. “Iraqis take it for granted that the military—any military—will mistreat and murder civilians. After all, that’s how their own soldiers behaved for decades.”
Odds and ends: A Newsweek piece looks at the gay-marriage debate as the Senate deliberates on the Federal Marriage Amendment and how President Bush is under pressure from evangelical groups to support the amendment. Religious groups are threatening to “stay home if politicians don’t push for the FMA,” the piece claims. “If you forget us, we’ll forget you,” is the message coming from religious lobbies. … A Time article follows Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, the intense Illinois Democrat who is charged with marshalling the right candidates to retake the House. Differing views among party leadership on government spending, national security, and gay marriage threaten to derail the fight for majority, the authors suggest, but recent moves toward unity suggest that Democrats are looking to repair the cracks.—M.M.
The New Yorker, June 12 This week’s issue has a wartime theme, with several pieces by U.S. soldiers that were originally commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts’ Operation Homecoming, which solicits submissions from people serving in Iraq. A Navy doctor stationed on a hospital ship writes in his journal, “The prisoners are a sad lot. I feel for them. Most were not real soldiers, just conscripts forced to fight for the Big Lie, Saddam Hussein.” A 29-year-old sergeant writes to her parents from the Green Zone: “Since the attack, I have gone back once to see the area that was just barely lit. Partial brain remains from the deceased are still on the cement floor, except now they are pinkish with cement gristle all folded into them, and oven-baked from the sun.”… The magazine’s summer fiction issue continues the theme with three short stories set in different times of war. Uwem Akpan’s “My Parents’ Bedroom” tells the story of a Rwandan child with a Tutsi mother and a Hutu father. A recently translated story by Italo Calvino, written in 1946, is the tale of two Italian partisan fighters who are captured by the Nazis.— D.S.
Weekly Standard, June 12
Fred Barnes stokes the sibling rivalry between President Bush and his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida. Barnes names Jeb as not only best governor in the nation but proclaims that he’s bested his older brother’s gubernatorial legacy. “Why is Jeb Bush the best?” Barnes answers: Bush has cut taxes every year, he’s reformed education and Medicaid, and heknows how to get things done during a hurricane. … William Kristol exhorts the president not to listen to “hand-wringing liberalism” over Haditha and chides him for calling Abu Ghraib the war’s “greatest mistake.” Haditha and Abu Ghraib will not blemish the country’s reputation in the long run, but losing the war will: “Winning the wars this nation commits to is also the way we keep our honor clean,” writes Kristol.—Z.K.