Weekly Review — January 29, 2002, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Attorney General John Ashcroft, offended at being repeatedly photographed in the Justice Department’s Great Hall with a large naked breast near his head, covered two partially nude Art Deco statues, the Spirit of Justice and the Majesty of Justice, with drapes. Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, insisted that the Afghan war prisoners, whom President Bush refuses to classify as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, were not being mistreated, even though the photographs that provide evidence of sensory deprivation and other psychological abuses were released by the Pentagon, a release, which Rumsfeld characterized as “probably unfortunate,” that in itself may have violated the Geneva Conventions’ prohibition against making a spectacle of prisoners. Colin Powell, the secretary of state, reportedly believes that the Geneva Conventions do apply to the prisoners and has requested a review of the President’s decision. Afghan refugees continued to protest their incarceration in Australian concentration camps by refusing food and water and sewing their lips shut; some of the protesters drank detergent and cut themselves in despair. Kenneth L. Lay resigned as chairman of Enron as congressional hearings on the company’s bankruptcy began, and President Bush said he was outraged that Enron had misled its investors and employees, noting that his own mother-in-law had lost $8,000 in the company’s collapse. A former Enron executive who resigned because of the company’s questionable financial practices was found dead in his car with a bullet in the brain, apparently self-inflicted. President Bush said he wanted another $48 billion for the military, though he was still refusing, even in the face of new budget deficits, to lower or postpone his big tax cut for the rich. Emergency medical workers in Warsaw, Poland, were in trouble for trading in dead bodies and poisoning patients for payoffs from undertakers.

“Unknown miscreants” on motorcycles fired at the American Center in New Delhi, India, killing three police officers. A gangster later called and claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying it was revenge against the police: “You take one of my men, I take 20 of yours. Stop me if you can.” Elie Hobeika, a former Lebanese Christian militia leader, whose men in 1982 massacred hundreds of Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila camps, was assassinated with a car bomb a few days after he confirmed that he would testify against Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in a war-crimes trial in Belgium. India test fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear warhead. Gun nuts in Utah, where adults with concealed-weapons permits are allowed to carry guns almost everywhere, including elementary schools and libraries, were trying to force the University of Utah to comply with the law and allow students to carry concealed pistols into the classroom. They also want to carry guns into the Delta Center, a large arena in Salt Lake City where the Olympic figure-skating competition will be held. “Delta Center is in defiance of our law right now,” said one. “We’ll deal with them next, after we’re done with the universities.” President Bush proposed doubling U.S. spending on domestic security, bringing that budget up to $38 billion next year, and said that America was “still under attack.” The government also said it would spend $1 billion more on bioterrorism. Singapore uncovered an Al Qaeda “sleeper cell” there and arrested 13 people; the terrorists had apparently developed an extensive and highly disciplined network throughout southeast Asia. Officials were surprised that the terrorists were able to operate for years without being detected in a police state where civil liberties are largely nonexistent. A Pentagon official said that America was looking for “bad guys to chase” in Indonesia, where Al Qaeda has reportedly been stirring up trouble. Chinese inspectors discovered that a new Boeing jet that was meant to be Jiang Zemin’s private plane was filled with sophisticated satellite-operated listening devices, which apparently were put there when the plane was being outfitted in San Antonio, Texas. German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder demanded and got a retraction from a newspaper that accused him of dying his hair. President Vladimir Putin approved an amnesty that will free all Russian mothers from prison. A Colombian presidential candidate was handing out samples of Viagra to voters. “We want our votes to dose Colombia with Viagra,” Ingred Betancourt explained, “to lift and to firm up the country, make peace swell, by standing up to the corrupt and stiffening our people.”

Testosterone might help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, researchers said. Al Gore gave a speech at a conference organized by the magazine India Today but only on the condition that no journalists attend. The Pentagon lifted its standing order that all American servicewomen in Saudi Arabia wear head scarves and black robes when off base. A Saudi Arabian poll revealed that 95 percent of educated Saudis between the ages of 25 and 41 support Osama bin Laden. A French court convicted a former general of “trying to justify war” and fined him $6,500 for writing in his memoir that he had personally executed 24 Algerians he suspected of being guerrillas and that he would do it again because the cause was just. A woman from Jacksonville, Florida, was taken in for psychiatric evaluation by police in northern California after she made some “unusual statements” at a hotel, thus interrupting her 10,000-mile taxi ride to Alaska. Michael Jackson revealed that he loves water-balloon fights and that he has a water-balloon fort at his Neverland estate. A 10-year-old English boy jumped off a 20-foot bridge with an umbrella after watching Mary Poppins; he is recovering from a broken jaw. Japanese scientists claimed they had created a pig that carries spinach genes, which results in leaner pork but not green ham. An American woman filed a complaint against Scandinavian Airlines because a vacuum-flush system engaged while she was seated on an airplane toilet, where she remained stuck until the Boeing 767 crossed the Atlantic to the United States and ground technicians were able to crack the seal. In Lisbon, Portugal, a 61-year-old man committed suicide by jumping into a lion pit; he bothered the lions until a 10-year-old lioness got irritated and broke his neck. The last lion in Afghanistan, which once ate a cocky Taliban fighter who entered his cage (the dead man’s brother later threw a grenade at the lion, blinding him in one eye), died of old age in a Kabul zoo. Mike Tyson, the convicted rapist, took a bite out of Lennox Lewis’s leg after the two boxers got into a fight at a news conference to promote their upcoming fight in Las Vegas; Tyson had previously threatened to eat Lewis’s children.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2017

Dead Ball Situation

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dear Rose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Factor by which single Americans who use emoji are more likely than other single Americans to be sexually active:

1.85

Brontosaurus was restored as a genus, and cannibalism was reported in tyrannosaurine dinosaurs.

Moore said he did not “generally” date teenage girls, and it was reported that in the 1970s Moore had been banned from his local mall and YMCA for bothering teenage girls.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today