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Sunday, October 08, 2006


The Way We Are

Headlines on Sunday morning

Murder In Moscow

"ANNA POLITKOVSKAYA, who was murdered in her apartment building yesterday, knew it was dangerous to be an honest reporter in President Vladimir Putin's Russia. Yet, as he wielded a combination of blandishments and bullying to gradually reimpose authoritarianism on his country, Ms. Politkovskaya, 48 and the mother of two, never yielded. Whether reporting on Mr. Putin's dirty war in the separatist region of Chechnya or on the diminution of freedom at home in Moscow, she remained, if not unafraid, unbowed."

Chances are Ms. Politkovskaya's murderer will never be officially identified. At least a dozen other journalists have been murdered in contract-style killings in the past six years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and not one of those murders has been solved. Human rights advocates and pro-democracy politicians have been struck down in the same way.

Yet it is quite possible, without performing any detective work, to say what is ultimately responsible for these deaths: It is the climate of brutality that has flourished under Mr. Putin. A former KGB agent himself, he inherited an imperfect democracy and systematically undermined its institutions. The media, political parties, local government, private business -- each in turn was neutered. Loyalty to Mr. Putin has become the quality that matters most, and any opponent is labeled an enemy, to be bankrupted, imprisoned or worse. Meanwhile, ugly nationalism was permitted to flourish.

Now you can see these same values being applied to foreign policy. The independent nation of Georgia, to Russia's south, has not displayed adequate fealty in Mr. Putin's view; it wants to be a democracy, with normal ties to the West. So the czar has launched an ugly campaign of threats against the country and the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Georgians who live in Russia. It is a dangerous moment.

U.S. Casualties In Iraq Reach Two-Year High

Sharp rise in numbers of wounded troops grimly reflects the degree to which the United States has taken the lead in staving off a full-scale civil war.
–Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post

Foley Consuming GOP As Elections Draw Near

Voters may see scandal as a metaphor for party leadership's ethical lapses, strategists believe.
–Michael Grunwald and Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

A Not So Happy Warrior Returns

The vice president emerged from his secret bunker to give one of his standard speeches -- what a great job the Bush Administration is doing and the Democrats cannot be trusted to protect the nation from terrorists. He sounds like a vinyl LP with needle stuck in a groove but what else is there for him to say. Peter Baker in the Post: "Vice President Cheney sometimes starts speeches with a Ronald Reagan quotation about a "happy" nation needing "hope and faith." But not much happy talk follows. Not a lot of hope, either. He does, though, talk about the prospect of "mass death in the United States."


Slate Magazine, Ann Telnaes

Partisan Woes

Slate Magazine, Nick Anderson


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