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December 12, 2005 | The Nation

In the Magazine

December 12, 2005

Cover: Cover art by Steve Brodner, cover design by Gene Case & Stephen Kling/Avenging Angels

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Alexander Cockburn skewers Democrats for failing to support John
Murtha's call for a rapid pullout from Iraq, Jonathan Schell
examines the Republican Party's failed and fraudulent empire and Stuart
Klawans reviews Syriana, The Boys of Baraka and
Punishment Park.

Letters

SCHADENFREUDEAN SLIP

Orinda, Calif.

Editorials

Unmaking the empire of fantasy and fraud that the Republican Party has
created will not be done quickly and the outcome is uncertain. But
historians may one day write that the fake American empire was the
Achilles' heel of the one-party state the Bush Administration failed to
build.

While Steny Hoyer seeks to "make himself the first contact for K
Street," Nancy Pelosi and George Miller are pressing forward with their
crackdown on lobbying and ethics abuses.

Democracy is being destroyed in Haiti, openly and with the support of
the United States and United Nations. If the farce election set for
December 27 by unelected government takes place, it will be a huge step
backward.

While political pressure is mounting for a pullout from Iraq, the
subject of total withdrawal remains unbroachable within the
political establishment. Control of the Iraq's oil reserves, from the
beginning, was the Bush Administration's real reason for this war.

Samuel Alito once boasted he was a member of Concerned Alumni of
Princeton, which opposed bemoaned the impact of co-education and
affirmative action. What does this say about his character and the kind
of place he would like America to be?

John Murtha is right: The American public has turned against the war.
Democrats and Republicans must put aside politics and work together to
bring the troops home quickly and focus on the real work to stabilize
Iraq.

Columns

TruthDig

Ethnic cleansing, chemical weapons, self-appointed executioners: Sound
familiar? The US occupation in Iraq has created conditions just as
bad--if not worse--than Saddam Hussein's ruthless regime. And the
increasingly isolated George W. Bush insists on staying the course.

TruthDig

No other modern politician has come so close as Dick Cheney has to
perfecting the theater of the absurd. Even as he protests his innocence
of lying about matters of state, he lies about matters of state.

Music

Tsunami. Hurricane. Earthquake. War. Poverty. Injustice. It's been a
tough year, but here's a list of extraordinary groups who deserve a
place on your holiday gift list.

The truth about the Iraq war may be clear to John Murtha and 60 percent
of the American people, but not to the three Democratic senators
interested in becoming President in 2008.

Cheney maintains tough guys never run: They stick. Well, don't they,
Dick?

Articles

As the clock ticks down to former gang leader Stanley
Tookie Williiams's scheduled execution on December 13, football great
Jim Brown is helping lead the fight to convince Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger to grant clemency.

Reports of ethical breaches in the harvesting of human eggs for stem
cell research in Korea has focused attention on the need to protect the
health and welfare of women who might be pressured into becoming
donors.

Given the Administration's record of attacking Al Jazeera verbally and
militarily, is it conceivable that President Bush tried to convince
Tony Blair to bomb its international headquarters? Only publication of
an explosive memo will prove it.

With 457 blunt-spoken words, John Murtha broke the spell that had held
the country captive to the misguided adventure in Iraq. It suddenly
became respectable to talk of a pullout. It was his finest moment: For
the first time, there is hope this war may end.

Compassionate conservativism n. An expensively cultivated
phrase created by a decades-old and well-funded Radical Right program
of Orwellian doublespeak.

Tennessee once had a visionary health care plan for that left only 14
percent of residents uninsured. But with federal cuts and a governor's
misguided attempt to privatize Medicaid, Tennessee is just another
state unable to protect its citizens.

John McCain is a war hero, a sometime Democratic ally, a crusader for
campaign finance reform. But the centrist maverick will most likely
take a turn to the right if he wants to get to the White House.

Books & the Arts

Book

Perry Anderson's Spectrum journeys through the abstract worlds
of conservative and liberal intellectual thought, and leaves in its
trail insights on the substance and style of ideas.

Film

Syriana disappoints; The Boys of Baraka
documents the lives of inner-city kids transported to the wild beauty
of Africa; and Punishment Park zeroes in on injustice in
America.