The hourglass seems to be running out on the chance for a peaceful end to the Iraq crisis. It will take a creative revision of policy—virtually a policy reversal—for President Bush to step back from war.
To hear President Bush speak of late, you might think he was mounting a pulpit, not a podium. With war on the horizon, the Providence of God is especially on his mind. “Events aren’t moved by blind change and chance,” he said at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, echoing similar sentiments expressed in his State of the Union address.
White House senior political adviser Karl Rove says that Theodore Roosevelt would be “standing up and applauding” President George Bush’s environmental policies. Let’s check the record on that. Roosevelt created 150 national parks, founded the National Forest Service and set aside some 230 million acres of public land as parks and refuges.
George Ryan, until last month the Republican governor of Illinois, has revolutionized the debate over capital punishment. His genius, such as it is, has been to ignore the great moral and philosophic questions that surround the topic and focus on the pragmatic ones.
Last month Congressman Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) proposed reinstating the military draft. He sees it as a form of vaccination, a way of inoculating the country against war. “A renewed draft,” Rangel argued, “will help bring a greater appreciation of the consequences of decisions to go to war.”
The United States is deeply divided regionally when it comes to violence, gun possession and the death penalty. Dividing the country into 11 different “nations” based on the predominant origins of its inhabitants and the resulting culture, Colin Woodard says Yankeedom (his label for the Northeast) and the Left Coast are most open to gun control and abolition of the death penalty. The Deep South, Appalachia, Tidewater and Far West regions contain the most adamant supporters of the Second Amendment and capital punishment, and they also have the highest rate of murders. If the deadlock between these two extremes is ever to be broken, it will come about through swing voters in the middle states (Tufts magazine, Fall).