The Washington Monthly

An independent monthly magazine devoted to politics, government, culture, and the media in America, from a progressive perspective. Publishes investigative and opinion-based feature articles by notable authors, short news items, humorous sidebars, and boo

Articles from Vol. 29, No. 9, September

Addicted to Mobutu: Why America Can't Learn from Its Foreign Policy Mistakes
American foreign policy's 37-year investment in the Congo (formerly known as Zaire) has just gone bust. Notwithstanding some $1.5 billion in direct U.S. aid -- and billions more in U.S.-subsidized Export-Import Bank, World Bank, and United Nations...
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An Insane System: How Our Judicial and Public Health Systems Are Failing the Mentally Ill
Ever since 1760, when London's Dr. John Monro testified as to the temporary insanity of a man accused of killing his servant, medical experts have argued whether "lunatic killers" should be held responsible for their actions. Dr. Barbara Kirwin, a...
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An Officer and a Gentleman: Why the Concept Isn't as Silly as It May Seem
Good military order and Discipline." The phrase itself has an old-fashioned Victorian ring to it. Not surprisingly it was greeted by mockery and derision when it was evoked by the military as the basis for what Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa...
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Assigning Blame in Rwanda: How to Break the Cycle of Revenge in Ethnic Conflict
On September 26, 1996, the United Nations's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda began genocide trials in Arusha, a small town at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The man in the dock was Jean-Paul Akayesu, former mayor of Taba in Rwanda...
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Fly the Fiery Skies: Long after ValuJet, Many Planes Still Don't Have Smoke Detectors or Fire Extinguishers in Their Cargo Holds
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) was apoplectic. "Any more needless deaths and well be crucifying you people!" he thundered. The unlucky souls on the receiving end of this tirade were a group of Federal Aviation Administration officials, assembled for...
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If It Ain't Broke ... Keep Your Amendments off My Constitution
This book was commissioned by the Twentieth Century Fund in the belief that the American Constitution is under unfair attack from both the political left and right. The left is unhappy that the national government has done too little to meet what...
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The SAT Meritocracy. Is It Based on Real Merit?
Several Years Ago In These Pages, I reviewed a book by E. Digby Baltzell, the sociologist of the American elite (he invented the term WASP), and heartily endorsed Baltzell's observation that the old American "Protestant Establishment" (another term...
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What's Cooking in the Ivory Tower: This Year's Social Science Research Will Surprise Both Conservatives and Liberals
As far as summer events go, this August's annual meeting of the American Political Science Association doesn't have quite the same marquee value as, say, the recent opening of the Disney Store in Times Square. Let's face it, the average academic just...
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Where Are the Good Guys When We Need Them? While the Public Interest Groups Fiddle, Campaign Finance Reform Burns
Members of the Clinton administration boast that their boss has done more to promote the cause of campaign finance reform than president in recent history. Perhaps. But staffers who point to Clinton's use of the bully pulpit as evidence of his reform...
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