Weekly Review — March 21, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Eighty-six corpses–most shot, some strangled–were found around Baghdad over a 30-hour period. CNN“We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more,” said Iyad Allawi, the former interim prime minister of Iraq. “If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.”BBC NewsDonald Rumsfeld denied that Iraq was in a civil war.CNNThe United States launched Operation Swarmer against the Iraqi insurgency. While the operation was described as the largest air assault since the beginning of the Iraq war, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were captured.TimeA videotape emerged purporting to show that in November of 2005 Marines in Haditha, seeking revenge for the deaths of their comrades, killed 15 unarmed Iraqis, including seven women and three children. “I watched them shoot my grandfather,” said an eyewitness, “first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.” The Marines promised to investigate.TimeIt was revealed that in 2004 a U.S. Special Operations unit imprisoned Iraqis in Hussein-era torture chambers, then used them as targets in paintball games. “The reality is,” said a Pentagon official, “there were no rules there.” Posters around the detention area read NO BLOOD, NO FOUL.The New York TimesThe judge in the Saddam Hussein trial closed the trial to the public after Hussein spoke against Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence. “You will live,” Hussein told Iraqis, “in darkness and rivers of blood for no reason.” ABC NewsIn France between 260,000 and 500,000 students demonstrated and vandalized buildings and cars to protest a new employment law that makes it easier for young workers to be fired.Democracy NowEighty thousand people mourned Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade,ABC Newsand several thousand people around the world protested on the third anniversary of the Iraq war.ABC NewsIt was reported that the U.S. military is less likely to discharge homosexuals than it was in the past. “They are under enormous pressure,” explained a legal analyst, “to retain people.”The Boston GlobeIn the Netherlands organizers were planning to encourage tolerance by holding a soccer game matching homosexuals against Muslims. Gay Muslims, said organizers, will be able to choose which team they will join.Seattle PI

The Israeli army attacked a Palestinian jail to seize six militants,BBC Newsand doctors planned to move Ariel Sharon to a long-term care facility.AP via Sign On San DiegoIn California authorities were fitting gang members with GPS anklets,Reutersand the U.S. Navy said that it had killed a pirate off the coast of Somalia.BBC NewsA man named Allen Abney, who went AWOL from the Marines in 1968 before his unit was sent to Vietnam, was arrested for desertion and placed in a Marine jail when he tried to cross into Idaho from Canada. He was released a week later.The Globe and MailA government study found that FEMA had wasted millions of dollars in the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort; among other things the organization was accused of spending $3 million for 4,000 beds that were never used and awarding hundreds of contracts without competitive bidding.Democracy NowGoogle was ordered to provide selected search data to the federal government,BBC Newsand 46 percent of Americans polled said President George W. Bush should be censured over the NSA warrantless-wiretapping program.Democracy NowSenator Russ Feingold (D., Wis.) proposed a resolution to censure the President.USA TodayA federal appeals court ruled that Tennessee may issue “Choose Life” license plates.AP via First Amendment Center

UNESCO met to discuss how to preserve world heritage sites, like the Tower of London and the Great Barrier Reef, from the effects of global warming; the United States said that the organization had no brief to discuss an unproven theory.BBC NewsPresident Bush nominated Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, who raised $86,000 from the timber, mining, and energy industries during his last campaign, to oversee the Department of the Interior.Democracy NowJapanesescientists extracted sweet-smelling vanillin from cow dung.The New Zealand HeraldIn New Mexico a Mescalero Apache family was suing the producers of the Steven Spielberg-produced TV show “Into the West” for cutting the hair of eight-year-old actress Christina Ponce. Mescalero tradition forbids cutting a girl’s hair before she reaches puberty; the filmmakers trimmed Ponce because they were short of Indian boys.BBC NewsIn Texas, where wildfires have burned 3.5 million acres of land since December,AP via Yahoo! NewsMiss Deaf Texas was struck and killed by a train. “They sounded the horn,” said a police detective, “and got no response.”Seattle PIIn Chicago a man named Jakub Fik, upset with his girlfriend, was arrested for smashing car windows; he also cut off his penis and threw it at police officers.Chicago Sun TimesA 38-year-old Californiaclown kidnapped the 14-year-old girl who is carrying his child,NBC San Diegoand at least 2.5 million American children were taking antipsychotic drugs.MSNBC

Share
Single Page

More from Paul Ford:

From the May 2010 issue

Just like heaven

Weekly Review March 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 24, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

March 2020

The Old Normal

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Out of Africa

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Waiting for the End of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In Harm’s Way

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Fifth Step

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A View to a Krill

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Old Normal·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

At the time Marshall spoke, mere months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. forces had sustained a string of painful setbacks and had yet to win a major battle. Eventual victory over Japan and Germany seemed anything but assured. Yet Marshall was already looking beyond the immediate challenges to define what that victory, when ultimately— and, in his view, inevitably—achieved, was going to signify.

This second world war of the twentieth century, Marshall understood, was going to be immense and immensely destructive. But if vast in scope, it would be limited in duration. The sun would set; the war would end. Today no such expectation exists. Marshall’s successors have come to view armed conflict as an open-ended proposition. The alarming turn in U.S.–Iranian relations is another reminder that war has become normal for the United States.

Article
Waiting for the End of the World·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1.

A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

Article
The Fifth Step·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Article
Out of Africa·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

Article
In Harm’s Way·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

The commissioner of CPB admitted that “leadership just got a little overzealous” when detaining hundreds of U.S. citizens of Iranian descent in the wake of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today