When Congress returns from its month-long vacation in September, President Bush will ask members to agree to a package of more than $63 billion in military aid and weapons to our “allies” in the Middle East. Why such generosity? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice explains that the money will “bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.”
Anthony DiMaggio, professor of Middle East politics at Illinois State University, finds this a spurious argument. He writes that although “the aid initiative has been billed in the media as a major effort to stem terrorism, promote stability, and further cement American power in the region, . . . there is no available evidence suggesting that states like Iran or Syria have plans to attack any American allies in the region” (Counterpunch, August 5).
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).