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. 35, No. 6, June

Ball Boys: Why Golf Is the Driving Obsession of Middle-Age Alpha Males
HERE'S A GREAT MOMENT IN Barry Levinson's classic film Diner in which the young husband Shrevie, played by Daniel Stern, is asked by one of his buddies if he's happy being married. "I don't know," he sighs, before proceeding to air a big but. "When...
Body Count: How John Ashcroft's Inflated Terrorism Statistics Undermine the War on Terrorism
AT FIRST BLUSH, NEW JERSEY'S District Attorney's office seems like a model of federal law enforcement in the war against terrorism. In the year after 9/11, after all, they nabbed 62 individuals for acts of "international terrorism"--individuals who,...
Captive Genius
HENRY LOUIS GATES'S LATEST book, The Trials of Phillis Wheatley, is more than the story of America's first black poet; it recounts the opening chapter in a struggle for literary and racial identity that began in the 18th century and continues to this...
Do the Democrats Have a Prayer? to Win in 2004, the Next Nominee Will Need to Get Religion
WHEN PRESIDENT GEORGE W. Bush spoke of the "wonder-working power" of Americans in his 2003 State of the Union address, many television viewers may have considered it simply a nice rhetorical turn of phrase, an eloquent way of describing the potential...
Drug Antics
IN A NATION WHERE MOST people worship business--and where business controls politics--it often takes a tragedy to convince lawmakers to protect the public from predatory corporate practices. It took a Great Depression and revelations about Sam Insull's...
Faux Pax Americana: The Lesson from Iraq Is That Using Fewer Troops Can Win a War, but Can't Keep the Peace
DURING THE LEAD-UP TO THE IRAQ war, hawkish Pentagon appointees like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz predicted that the conflict could be won with as few as 50,000 troops. Meanwhile, senior generals like Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki and...
Founding Principal
SCHOLARS OF AMERICA'S FOUNding, the historian Joseph Ellis has argued, tend to view it through one of two prisms. Some historians see the Revolution mainly as an effort to overthrow tyranny and secure individual liberties. For others, it was a period...
Imperialism of Neighbors: A New Paradigm for the Use of American Power
IN THE MONTHS LEADING UP TO THE INVAsion of Iraq, critics of the Bush administration's policy fell into two basic camps. One group opposed war outright; the other supported confronting Saddam but disputed the administration's manner and timing. Both...
In Contempt of Courtship: Why We Love to Watch Other People Date, but Hate to Do It Ourselves
MONICA LEWINSKY HAS A NEW JOB: doling out her sage dating advice as host of a new Fox TV "reality" show, "Mr. Personality." In the show, a babelicious young stockbroker named Hayley is asked to choose a lover from a group of 20 masked suitors. The...
Pucker Up
RICHARD HELMS WAS THE most debonair of the nation's 18 Directors of Central Intelligence (DCIs). Tall, smartly dressed, fluent in French and German, a specialist in European affairs, he was a natural for the spy business. Like many who would rise to...
SARS Wars: How a Deadly Disease Is Helping Chinese Journalists Fight Party Censors
NOWHERE IS THE EFFECT OF THE SARS epidemic more apparent than in Beijing. And nowhere in Beijing is it more strikingly evident than in the city's bustling public transportation system. When I first arrived in early April, I moved into an apartment...
Speech Therapy
MOST ANTHOLOGIES ARE collections of the familiar. A splendid exception is Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches, edited by Josh Gottheimer. It includes not only selections from the inspiring but oft-told story of how American blacks...
Star Search: A Million Federal Jobs Are about to Open Up for Young Americans. Will the Government Lure the Best-Or the Rest?
JOINT DIRECT ATTACK MUNITIONS, OR JDAMs, are a marvel of economy and engineering. Strap the $20,000 electronics kit onto the tail of a standard-issue dumb bomb, and you've created a deadly precision weapon that can be guided to its target by GPS satellites...
The Bookie of Virtue: William J. Bennett Has Made Millions Lecturing People on Morality-And Blown It on Gambling
We should know that too much of anything, even a good thing, may prove to be our undoing ... [We] need ... to set definite boundaries on our appetites. --The Book of Virtues, by William J. Bennett NO PERSON CAN BE MORE RIGHTLY credited with making...
The Clinton Warrior: Face It: Sidney Blumenthal Was Right
IT'S LIKE A TALE FROM KAFKA: SIDNEY Blumenthal awoke one morning to find himself transformed into a snake. "Rattle, rattle, rattle. Hissssssssss," editorialized The Weekly Standard during the Republican drive to impeach Bill Clinton. "Sidney Blumenthal...
The Con in Conservative. (Letters)
Hats off to Joshua Micah Marshall's unveiling of the messianic mission of the neocons to "fix" the Middle East, in his article "Practice to Deceive" (April). But while Marshall does an admirable job of assessing the earthly risks incurred by the administration's...
Tilting at Windmills
APPEARING ON TIM RUSSERT'S "Meet the Press" some months ago, Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) did not display a command of the information a president should know. Was this just a bad day for the senator? We hope so, but a story recently told to me by a...
Veiled Upset
IF YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND what it feels like to know the tug of modernity while living under the repression of mullah authority in Iran, talk to the young women there. In Kerman, I remember a group of young women I'd run into in the bazaar who waxed...