Weekly Review — November 19, 2002, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

One day after Iraq’s parliament rejected the terms of the Security Council resolution calling for resumed weapons inspections, a letter from Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri agreeing to the demands was delivered to the United Nations. The letter was somewhat hostile, referring to the Americans and the British as a “gang of evil,” and it declared that the Security Council “has now been transformed into a kitchen house for big power bargaining, providing cover for war, destruction, blockades, and starvation to be inflicted on peoples.” The letter also contained the following proverb: “He who remains silent in the defense of truth is a dumb devil.” Al-Jazeera television received a new audiotape from Osama bin Laden in which he threatened more attack on citizens of countries supporting the United States; Bin Laden referred to George W. Bush as “the pharaoh of the time” and to the Bush Administration as a “gang of butchers.” A German prosecutor agreed to return the brain of Ulrike Meinhoff, the cofounder of the Red Army Faction, to her family. A certain Dr. Bernard Bogarts was believed to be in possession of the brain, which was removed from Meinhoff’s body in 1976 after she committed suicide; Dr. Bogarts has claimed that the brain exhibits “pathological modifications” that might explain Meinhoff’s violent behavior. Two other Red Army Faction brains were also said to be missing. Jiang Zemin resigned as head of the Communist Party of China and was replaced by Hu Jintao, who is best known for imposing martial law in Tibet in 1989. A psychiatric evaluation was ordered for Slobodan Milosevic, whose ill-health has repeatedly delayed his genocide trial. Israelis and Palestinians continued to slaughter one another. A group of medical experts estimated that 500,000 people, mostly civilians, would probably die as a result of an American invasion of Iraq. President Bush was asked what would constitute a “material breach” of the new Security Council resolution on Iraq: “Zero tolerance,” Bush replied. “About as plain as I can make it.”

A new aphrodisiac called Tadalafil was announced; the drug, which will go on sale in Europe next year, works much like Viagra but takes effect more quickly and lasts three times as long. The British government, concerned about closing-time binge drinking, proposed to let pubs stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Army announced a contract with Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. to help build John Poindexter’s Total Information Awareness electronic surveillance system. A provision was added to the House version of the Homeland Security Act that would expand the ability of the government to eavesdrop on telephone and Internet communications without a search warrant; the bill also promises life sentences for private citizens who carry out computer intrusions. “A mouse,” said Representative Lamar Smith, who sponsored the measure, “can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.” Senator John Warner said that he will hold hearings in the Armed Services Committee next year to review the Posse Comitatus law, which prevents the military from policing American civilians. The FBI warned that Al Qaeda might be planning a “spectacular” attack; the Bush Administration was annoyed at the FBI for releasing the warning, and Senator Bob Graham attacked the administration for ignoring Al Qaeda in its obsession with invading Iraq. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch condemned the police in Kabul, Afghanistan, for shooting into a crowd of unarmed student protesters; at least two students were killed. Russian troops, apparently inspired by Israeli tactics, began demolishing the homes of Chechen civilians in Grozny in retaliation for guerrilla attacks. Congress approved a defense authorization bill that contains an item funding research in nuclear “bunker buster” artillery shells. Democrats were searching for a leader and a message; a prominent Democrat from South Dakota said she was worried: “I don’t know if it’s really cool to be a politician these days.”

Russia’s lower house of parliament voted down a proposal for an independent investigation of the hostage fiasco in Moscow last month. “The reason why the Duma rejected the proposal is quite clear,” said a human-rights advocate. “Our parliament is servile.” The White House finally agreed to support an independent commission on the events of September 11 but only after it was agreed that the president will select the chairman. The pope addressed Italy’s parliament for the first time and urged Italians to have more children; a fugitive mobster was so moved by the pope’s words that he turned himself in. Nine Army linguists, including six experts in Arabic, were fired for being homosexuals. Unrest continued in Caracas. The Pentagon hired actors to play hecklers in a fake Arab town that was set up in southern California to help troops prepare for the Iraqi invasion. An American soldier wearing a “chem-bio” protective suit collapsed during an Army press conference; the collapse was apparently triggered by the heat from television lights. American television producers were reportedly increasing the rate at which actors deliver their lines on the theory that viewers will find the characters more intelligent. A lawyer for Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bill Wyman, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, telling him to stop using his name, which he was given at birth, unlike the rock star, who was born William George Perks. Some clippings of Elvis Presley’s hair sold at auction for $100,105. Jesus Christ appeared in southern India on a toasted chappati.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2016

Atlas Aggregated

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Origins of Speech

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Four in Verse

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Sigh and a Salute

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Four in Prose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Don the Realtor

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Martin Amis on the rise of Trump, Tom Wolfe on the origins of speech, Art Spiegelman on Si Lewen, fiction by Diane Williams, and more

In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.

Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Don the Realtor·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"If you have ever wondered what it’s like, being a young and avaricious teetotal German-American philistine on the make in Manhattan, then your curiosity will be quenched by The Art of the Deal."
Photograph (detail) © Polly Borland/Exclusive by Getty Images
Article
The Origins of Speech·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"To Chomsky...every child’s language organ could use the 'deep structure,' 'universal grammar,' and 'language acquisition device' he was born with to express what he had to say, no matter whether it came out of his mouth in English or Urdu or Nagamese."
Illustration (detail) by Darrel Rees. Source photograph © Miroslav Dakov/Alamy Live News
Article
A Sigh and a Salute·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Si told me that various paintings had spoken to him, but he wished they had been hung closer together 'so they could talk to each other.' This observation planted a seed that would come to fruition years later in his mature work."
Artwork (detail) by Si Lewen
Article
El Bloqueo·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Amid the festivities and the flood of celebrities, it would be easy for Americans to miss that the central plank of the long-standing cold war against Cuba — the economic embargo — remains very much alive and well."
Photograph (detail) by Rose Marie Cromwell

Percentage of registered Democrats who say that fishing is their favorite spectator sport:

1.8

Democrats would win more elections if black Americans died at the same rate as white Americans.

A former U.S. intelligence official said pornography constituted 80 percent of the material on jihadists’ seized laptops, and Starbucks and McDonald’s made porn inaccessible from their Wi-Fi networks.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today