Weekly Review — June 18, 2002, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

President George W. Bush announced a “new doctrine” according to which the United States will permit itself to launch preemptive attacks on countries and organizations that have or might have weapons of mass destruction. Bush Administration officials were reportedly annoyed with Attorney General John Ashcroft for overstating the “dirty bomb” angle in the arrest of Jose Padilla, who was demoted from “potential bomber” to “scout” in a matter of days. President Bush said that Padilla was “a bad guy and he is where he needs to be??detained.” Justice Department officials said that they decided to hold Padilla as an “enemy combatant,” because they don’t have enough evidence to charge him with an actual crime, but said they would not try him before a military tribunal, because he is an American citizen. One official remarked that “he’s going to stay in the can until we’re through with Al Qaeda.” Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, told American sailors in Bahrain that Saddam Hussein is a “world-class liar” who already has chemical weapons and could soon have nuclear and biological weapons, too. A car bomb blew up outside the American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan; at least 11 people, none of whom were Americans, died. Rumsfeld, who said that he had “seen indications” that Al Qaeda is operating in Pakistan, recently mused that “there are no knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns, that is to say there are things we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns, things we do not know we don’t know.” He also noted that “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. declared a truce in their campaign to blame each other for a series of intelligence blunders prior to September 11. The 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty expired, and construction of missile-interceptor silos began in Alaska. Russia responded by withdrawing from the Start II treaty, which outlawed multiple-warhead missiles. Governor Jim Hodges of South Carolina declared a state of emergency and ordered state troopers to prevent federal shipments of plutonium waste from entering his state. A magnitude 4.4 earthquake was recorded in Nevada near Yucca Mountain, the federal government’s proposed nuclear waste repository. The White House proposed a rules change that would allow utilities to upgrade their facilities without improving pollution control. Scientists estimated that air pollution costs Europe’s farmers more than six billion Euros a year. Australian scientists concluded that pollution caused by North American and European power plants and factories may be responsible for severe droughts and famines in Africa. The United Nations World Food Summit convened in Rome; delegates dined on lobster, goose stuffed with olives, and foie gras on toast with kiwifruit.

President Bush met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, called off the Middle East peace summit that had been scheduled for this summer, and then suggested that he might be willing to back an “interim” Palestinian state that leaves border issues vague. Israeli bookies were taking bets on where terrorists will strike next; the bets are valid only “when there is an attack of Arabs against Jews and not vice versa.” A 71-year-old man ran amok at a Benedictine monastery in rural Missouri and shot two monks dead before committing suicide. A jury in Miami awarded $37.5 million to a former three-pack-a-day smoker whose tongue was removed because of cancer twenty years after he quit smoking. Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, South Africa’s health minister, proudly announced that the HIV epidemic appeared to have leveled off at 25 percent of the adult population. Peter Mokaba, a leading member of the African National Congress who for years insisted that AIDS does not exist, died, apparently of AIDS. Several people in Bogotá, Colombia, buried themselves up to their necks and went on a hunger strike to protest the lack of clean water and other municipal services in poor neighborhoods. The Roman Catholic diocese of Brooklyn denied John Gotti a public funeral mass because of concerns that crowds of onlookers “would take away from the decorum.” In Dallas, Texas, a council of Roman Catholic bishops decided to remove any priest from the ministry who has ever abused a child. Members of the British House of Commons filed a petition for a parliamentary cat to kill the mice that infest their building. Mick Jagger was knighted for “services to popular music.” Jann Wenner announced that he was dumbing down Rolling Stone magazine because young readers no longer have the patience to read long articles. An octopus in England learned to unscrew a jar. A giant calf was born in Russia, as was a four-legged duck.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

March 2015

A Sage in Harlem

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Man Stopped

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Spy Who Fired Me

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Giving Up the Ghost

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Invisible and Insidious

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

[Browsings]
William Powell published The Anarchist Cookbook in 1971. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print.
“The book has hovered like an awkward question on the rim of my consciousness for years.”
© JP Laffont/Sygma/Corbis
Article
The Fourth Branch·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Both the United States and the Soviet Union saw student politics as a proxy battleground for their rivalry.”
Photograph © Gerald R. Brimacombe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Article
Giving Up the Ghost·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Stories about past lives help explain this life — they promise a root structure beneath the inexplicable soil of what we see and live and know, what we offer one another.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
The Spy Who Fired Me·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In industry after industry, this data collection is part of an expensive, high-tech effort to squeeze every last drop of productivity from corporate workforces.”
Illustration by John Ritter
Article
Invisible and Insidious·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly.”
Photograph © 2011 Massimo Mastrorillo and Donald Weber/VII

Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:

1

Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.

An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Driving Mr. Albert

By

He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.

Subscribe Today