Economist, Aug. 19 Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon signals a victory for Hezbollah, the magazine argues, but puts the Lebanese government in a precarious situation: “Lebanon’s prime minister is in a fix. Lebanese patriotism obliges him to celebrate Mr. Nasrallah’s great victory. But most of the coalition government over which he presides wants to seize the opportunity, enshrined in [U.N. Resolution] 1701 (and made possible by Israel’s deplorable bombs), to turn Lebanon into a normal country, not one in which Iran and Syria maintain the Hizbullah fief.”… An article in a special report on life in Britain after the averted bomb plot points out the scare might end up affecting low-cost carriers the most. For one, passengers avoid flying when security measures become too cumbersome. Also, if passengers are allowed fewer carry-on items, that means more checked baggage: “This will cause longer turnaround times with knock-on effects that could make a huge difference to the overall profitability of low-cost carriers, which operate on razor-thin margins.”— D.S.
New Republic, Aug. 28 Nancy Cunningham, wife of disgraced former Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, reveals details of their marriage in a tell-all interview with Kitty Kelley. She denies playing any knowing role in her husband’s misdeeds, and says not even a $2,500 wedding gift from a defense contractor to her daughter was cause for alarm. Despite her denials, the scandal continues to dog her at the school where she works. “People are writing to the school board to get me fired and contacting the school system, demanding they examine any budget I’ve ever had anything to do with,” she says. Now separated from her husband, Nancy blames his aggression: “When we first married, he slept with a knife under his pillow,” she said. “Well, the knife graduated to a loaded gun.”… An article compares Ned Lamont to George McGovern but argues that the rightward shift of American politics since 1972 sets their ideologies “worlds apart.”—C.B.
New York, Aug. 21
With the five-year anniversary of the nation’s worst terror attack approaching, New York poses the question, “What if 9/11 Never Happened?” Doris Kearns Goodwin believes the country wouldn’t be held hostage by “big oil,” thanks to President Al Gore. Andrew Sullivan blogs about President Gore, too, but in the end the country gets attacked by al-Qaida anyway. The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier feels that most of us live like 9/11 never happened. Douglas Brinkley imagines President Bush would have spared no expense in rehabilitating New Orleans. New York Times columnist Frank Rich predicts that Karl Rove be busy thinking up ways to mistreat gay people and women. Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick thinks the Bush administration would be busy fighting the culture war in the courts rather than an actual war. And Bernard-Henri Lévy says he wouldn’t have had to take time off from vacationing in the French Riviera to cover Israel at war.—Z.K.
New York Times Magazine, Aug. 20 Health food is replacing junk food in school cafeterias across the country, reports the cover piece. As child obesity rates continue to rise, schools are introducing menu overhauls, exercise programs, and nutritional education. But it’s not clear that these reforms actually work. “We don’t have these children 24 hours a day,” says Benjamin Caballero, who has conducted studies on school nutrition. “… [E]verything about the world—fast food, video games, television ads, everything—conspires to undo even the best things that happen in schools.”… A piece finds that Iraqi forces in Anbar are sorely understaffed. With delays in pay and little hope for promotion, many Iraqi soldiers have gone AWOL. As a result, the counterinsurgency resembles “a whack-a-mole arcade game. Every time the Americans have massed force to put out one fire, they have created a vacuum elsewhere that the insurgents have rushed to fill.”—C.B.
The New Yorker, Aug. 21 Israel decided to attack Hezbollah “well before” the group’s July 12 kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, according to an investigation by Seymour Hersh. Anonymous sources claim Israel made the decision to bomb Lebanon with Washington’s blessing, if not its direct oversight. Federal officials deny any involvement. But with Iran’s U.N. deadline for abandoning nuclear enrichment looming, the Bush administration may view Israel’s struggle with Hezbollah as a trial run for a U.S. campaign against Iran. According to a former senior intelligence official, “When the smoke clears, [Rumsfeld and Cheney will] say it was a success, and they’ll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.”… An article depicts the fraught process of rebuilding New Orleans. Some politicians and city planners see in the devastation the “silver lining” of renewal, while many residents feel attached to the city’s old infrastructure. Meanwhile, race overshadows everything from labor contracts to the mayoral race to future flood prevention.—C.B.
Related in Slate: Complete coverage of the Middle East crisis.
Weekly Standard, Aug. 21 and 28 An editorial by William Kristol views U.S. foreign policy through the lens of Ned Lamont’s primary victory over Joe Lieberman. While he calls it “a triumph for the European wing of the Democratic party,” and christens them as the “Bugs Bunny caucus” for their proclivity of promoting the use of “carrots” to keep enemies of the state in line, he has some harsh words for the Bush administration, too. “Have they become more cooperative, and less bent on trouble, since Secretary of State Rice started serving up the carrots last year?” he asks. … Fred Barnes’spin on Lamont? Democrats have embraced George McGovern left-wing pacifism. As Lieberman tries to hold onto his seat as an independent, Barnes predicts the upcoming campaign won’t be about the popularity of Bush and Republicans but if the Democrats, “had bolted so far to the left that they couldn’t be trusted to protect the nation.”— Z.K.
Related in Slate: Jacob Weisberg on why Ned Lamont’s victory means trouble for the Democratic Party.
Time, Aug. 21, and Newsweek, Aug. 21 and 28
Terror plot foiled: The newsmagazines look at the foiled plot to bomb airplanes en route from London to the United States. A Time article concentrates on America’s collective reaction to terror plots and finds that officials could learn something from the British. Reactionary measures like forcing parents to taste baby formula are “overkill,” according to the piece. Better preventive methods include comprehensive passenger background checks, more restricted access to sensitive areas for airport employees, and better chemical-weapons detection equipment. … A comprehensive piece in Newsweek names names, describing the arrest in Pakistan of suspected plot ringleader Rashid Rauf and his brother Tayib, who allegedly headed up the operation in Britain. The piece looks at speculation that the plot may have been the work of the “new Al Qaeda,” a frightening prospect when rumor had it that the organization was dying out. But, according to the piece, a more sprawling, less trained al-Qaida may make it easier to foil terror plots in the future. … A Time article explains why American Muslims are less attracted to jihad than their European counterparts: While a smaller and better off population obviously contributes, an overall greater respect for religion in America than Europe quells unrest, the author suggests. Related in Slate: William Saletan analyzed the new “liquid terrorism,” and Fred Kaplan suggested we have a thing or two to learn from the Brits. Daniel Engber asks if you can drink liquid explosives.
College guide: Newsweek features a guide to the “New Ivies,” 25 schools outside the Ivy League that have benefited from the huge influx of top students. …Time looks at the same phenomenon, examining students and counselors who look beyond the Ivies and weighing the benefits that such smaller, less-recognized schools offer.—B.C. and M.M.
Related in Slate: Daniel Gross explains why corporations are hiring fewer Ivy League grads.