"Bush's New Iraq Viceroy." For the ultra-sensitive job of the first American ambassador to post-Saddam Iraq, you'd think you'd want someone whose resume was above suspicion. But you wouldn't be the Bush White House. Bush has nominated U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte, who as Honduras ambassador in the 1980s participated in a Reagan Administration scheme wherein the Honduran government was bribed to support the Nicaraguan contras. Moreover, reports David Corn in The Nation (May 10), Negroponte has repeatedly denied or downplayed human-rights abuses that even the CIA has concluded were officially sanctioned by the Honduran government. There's even evidence Negroponte misled Congress on the matter. www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020311&s=corn
"A Four-Year Plague." Congress might have turned back Bushy assaults on the environment including oil-drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but Bryant Urstadt writes in Harper's Magazine (May) that the White House has other ways to let private interests foul the national nest and exploit precious resources. The Administration's expanded use of executive-branch tactics including rollbacks of previous rules -- which bypass Congress and, indeed, any public scrutiny, entirely -- explains, among other things: why mercury is no longer classified as a "hazardous air pollutant"; why it's now OK to bury streams in mining waste; why oil and gas companies increasingly have their way with public lands; and why enforcement of environmental law has plummeted.
"Iraqis Say: 'US Out Now!'" A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll of Iraqis conducted March 22-April 2 showed that more than half of respondents want U.S. troops gone now, and that the vast majority view the U.S. presence as an occupation rather than a liberation. The poll got short-lived U.S. media play, but according to University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole, its results are startling -- especially compared to other recent polls, and broken down by ethnic and religious faction. See Cole's analysis on antiwar.com. www.antiwar.com/cole/?articleid=2440
"Oh, God." How did W. go from heavy-drinking Episcopalian WASP to born-again Methodist? And what does it have to do with the fact that he once told gubernatorial campaign aides, "God wants me to be president"? Writing for Slate (April 29), Dana Stevens reviews The Jesus Factor, a new Frontline documentary exploring the intersection between Bush's religion and his politics. slate.msn.com/id/2099698