June 11, 2004
What Reagan "Cutbacks" Is He Talking About?
"Much of the country, including most of those who are physically, economically or otherwise disadvantaged, deeply resented and still resent [Ronald Reagan's] insistence that government is the problem, not the solution. Severe and continuing cutbacks in government services to the poor and vulnerable resulted, and the gulf dividing rich from poor widened." - R.W. Apple on Ronald Reagan, June 11.
Ask Lech Walesa about Reagan's Commitment to Human Rights Abroad
"Many missed Mr. Carter's burning commitment to civil rights and liberties at home and human rights abroad. African-Americans and trade union members felt particularly aggrieved, as did many Jews, who resented Mr. Reagan's participation in a ceremony in 1985 at a German cemetery where Nazi SS troopers were buried." - R. W. Apple, June 11.
Thank God for Gorby
"As Mr. Reagan's obituaries uniformly proclaim, the late president won the cold war, but historians agree that the outcome would have been impossible had any man other than Mr. Gorbachev been sitting behind the Kremlin's red-brick walls and across the negotiating table." - Thom Shanker, June 11.
"It was Mr. Reagan's good fortune that during his time in office the Soviet Union was undergoing profound change, eventually to collapse, setting off a spirited debate over Mr. Reagan's role in ending the cold war. His supporters argued that his tough policies were the coup de grce and his detractors attributed the end to the accumulated influence of 45 years of the American policy of containment. But wherever the credit was due, the thaw came on his watch.Some analysts believe that [defense] buildup, along with military exercises and reconnaissance that were seen from the Soviet perspective as provocative, may have strengthened Soviet hawks and actually delayed efforts by Mr. Gorbachev to bring reform to the Soviet Union." - Marilyn Berger, June 6.
Abu Ghraib, at the Movies
"Arriving right on the heels of the Abu Ghraib scandal, the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival has a new, uncomfortable resonance for those who habitually regard the United States as remaining above the moral fray. 'Persons of Interest,' for example, is a spare, modest documentary in which New York-area residents of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent describe their arrests and detainment by the Justice Department in the weeks after 9/11. The movie, which has the first of three screenings at the Walter Reade Theater tonight at 6:15, offers disturbing first-hand testimony of how the safeguards of civil liberty were relaxed in a time of panic.Because the film records only their versions of what happened, it is obviously one-sided, but the cumulative impact of their stories creates the sickening impression of people who are persecuted and humiliated on the flimsiest of excuses in a witch-hunting atmosphere." - Stephen Holden, June 11.
Bill Clinton, Fiscal Disciplinarian?
"Congress never did pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but by the late 1990's, a soaring economy and efforts at fiscal discipline by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, produced a brief run of budget surpluses." - Todd Purdum, June 10.
Reagan's "Seeming Indifference" to Blacks and the Poor
"Historians will long debate the impact of the huge federal budget deficits run up under Mr. Reagan's leadership, the efficacy of his tax cuts, the effects of his administration's involvements in Central America, his seeming indifference to civil rights, the environment and the plight of the poor." - Todd Purdum, June 7.
Reagan's Budget Dishonesty Continues With Bush
"Another lesson the current administration took from the Reagan years is that it can be politically advantageous to publish budgets with numbers that are less than fully honest. Under Mr. Reagan, said Robert D. Reischauer, the economist who was director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1987 to 1995, the Office of Management and Budget 'ceased to be viewed as an objective estimator of budget numbers.' That is also the case today, Mr. Reischauer said." - David Rosenbaum, June 10.
Reagan's "Bitterly Polarizing" Agenda
"Despite Ronald Reagan's personal popularity, his domestic agenda was in many ways bitterly polarizing. Then, as now, conservatives hailed his tax cuts, his stirring defense of traditional values and his commitment to getting government 'off the backs' of the American people. But many liberals and progressives see his domestic legacy very differently, particularly on AIDS, civil rights, reproductive rights and poverty. Though clearly sympathetic to Mr. Reagan's family, they are still angry over his policies, which they assert reflected the unbridled influence of social conservatives." - Robert Pear and Robin Toner, June 9.
Reagan's Crazy Missile Defense Schemes
"In a frantic hunt for ways to bring Mr. Reagan's dream to life, a gargantuan research effort lurched through a blur of possible weapons over the years, including X-ray lasers, chemical lasers, free-electron lasers, particle beams and space-based kinetic kill vehicles." - Carl Hulse and William Broad, June 8.
Dredging Up Liberal Conspiracy Theories
" .No sooner had Mr. Reagan taken the oath of office at noon on Jan. 20, 1981, than the 52 American hostages who had been held in Iran since Nov. 4, 1979, were released in accordance with an agreement that President Carter had completed only hours before. The timing of the release led to questions about whether Mr. Reagan or his staff had struck a private deal with the Iranians." - Marilyn Berger, June 6.
Abu Ghraib Like Nazis?
"Nudity is considered particularly shameful in Muslim culture, a violation of religious principles. While nudity as a disciplinary or coercive tool may be especially objectionable to Muslims, they are hardly the only victims of the practice. Soldiers in Nazi Germany paraded naked prisoners in daylight, and human rights groups have documented the use of nudity during conflicts in Egypt, Chile and Turkey, and in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation." - Kate Zernike and David Rohde, June 8.
Predicting More Violence in Iraq
"With summerlike heat settling in and American officials predicting that violence will almost certainly increase before the full empowerment of the country's interim government on June 30, a sense of wariness and fatigue has set in among many Iraqis and American soldiers." - Edward Wong, June 9.