Who Are the Pro-Americans?

So familiar are the numbers, and so often have we heard them analyzed, that the release of a new poll on international anti-Americanism last week caused barely a ripple. Once again the Pew Global Attitudes Project showed that most Frenchmen have a highly unfavorable view of the United States; that the Spanish prefer China to America; and that Canadian opinion of the United States has sunk dramatically. Continue reading “Who Are the Pro-Americans?”

Give This ‘Attic’ A Story To Tell

According to its director, the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History needs new plumbing, new wiring and better lighting. So desperately does the building require renovation, in fact, that there is talk of shutting the whole place down for a year or two, of bringing in some fresher architecture, even of designing a “museum for the 21st century.” Continue reading “Give This ‘Attic’ A Story To Tell”

Airport Security’s Grand Illusion

If you happen to be reading this while standing in one of those disturbingly slow, zigzag lines at airport security — looking repeatedly at your watch, wondering if this time you really will miss the plane — here’s something to make you feel worse: Almost none of the agony you are experiencing is making you safer, at least not to any statistically significant or economically rational degree. Continue reading “Airport Security’s Grand Illusion”

Amnesty’s Amnesia

A few years ago I spent several days sitting in the back of a library in London, reading through newsletters, pamphlets and other accounts of Soviet prison conditions published in the 1970s and ’80s by Amnesty International. Sometimes these reports were remarkably detailed, testifying to the extraordinary ability of prisoners to smuggle out their stories. Continue reading “Amnesty’s Amnesia”

Blaming the Messenger

“It’s appalling that this story got out there,” said the secretary of state. “Shaky from the very get-go,” thundered the White House spokesman. “We’ve not found any wrongdoing on the part of U.S. servicemembers,” declared the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Outrage filled the airwaves this week as administration officials took turns denouncing Newsweek’s brief report of alleged desecrations of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. Continue reading “Blaming the Messenger”

Saying Sorry

“It just offends me that the president of the United States is, directly or indirectly, attacking his own country in a foreign land.” That was 1998. The speaker, Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), was then House majority whip. The president was Bill Clinton, who had “attacked his own country” while in Uganda. Continue reading “Saying Sorry”