Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the executive editor of The American ProspectHis email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Do Nothing, Please

Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid has taken to invoking Harry Truman's line about a "do-nothing Congress," and with ample reason. In dealing with the major issues of our time (global warming, immigration, the diminishing benefits and stagnant wages that characterize today's economy) or in discharging its oversight duties over administration policies that have failed (the war in Iraq) or were stillborn (the rescue of New Orleans), the Republican-controlled Congress has been nowhere to be found. In inverse relation to the seriousness of the challenges that America confronts, this Congress is well on its way to spending the fewest days in session of any in modern memory. Still, the one thing that should engender more fear than the current Congress's doing nothing is the current Congress's doing something. Every time congressional Republicans are compelled by public pressure to address a serious issue, they retreat to their laboratory and emerge with Frankenstein-monster legislation...

Put Up or Shut Up

In the Middle East, it is suddenly the European moment. Israel knows it cannot eliminate Hezbollah through force of arms, and it has realized that occupying hostile terrain is too much of a drain on its physical, political and moral resources. Reversing long-standing policy, it now is calling for an international force to secure its borders. But which nations' troops should make up that force? The United States, even if it weren't bogged down in Iraq, is too closely identified with Israel. The Sunni Arab states that might conceivably step forward -- Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia -- would risk an eruption of rage in their streets, and their intervention could also move the entire region closer to a Sunni-Shiite conflagration. All this puts the ball squarely in Europe's court. And if Europe wants to be taken seriously on the world stage, this is an opportunity it should welcome. The nations of Western Europe, after all, have long, and rightly, called for an end to Israel's occupation of...

The Guns of July

I wonder if this is how the summer of 1914 felt. Then, you will recall, the assassination of the Austrian archduke by a Serbian nationalist terrorist provided the senescent Austro-Hungarian Empire the excuse it had been looking for to wipe out the Serbian nationalists, which provoked the pan-Slavic nationalists at work for the czar to threaten the Austro-Hungarians with destruction, which led Germany's Kaiser to pledge retaliatory war against Russia, which prompted the French, who had an anti-German alliance with Russia, to begin mobilization. . . . Nobody wanted global conflagration, yet nobody knew how to stop it, and the American president (Woodrow Wilson, who was not yet a Wilsonian) did nothing to help avert the coming war. Within a month, the war came, and it took the remainder of the 20th century for the world to fully recover. I review this familiar history for those of us (myself included) who've been wondering how the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers (and the killing of...

Earth to Pundits

I am about to become a traitor to my class. Among my estimable colleagues in the Washington commentariat, the idea that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman is facing a serious challenge from a fellow Democrat over Lieberman's support for the Iraq war seems to evoke incredulity and exasperation. On the op-ed pages of leading newspapers, we read that Lieberman is "the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men" ( that 's from The New York Times ' David Brooks), a judgment that cannot credibly be disputed -- though if ever a road to hell was paved with good intentions, it would start with the anti-Saddam Hussein interventionism of pro-democracy advocates and end in downtown Baghdad today. My colleagues also finger those crazy lefty bloggers as the culprits behind the drive to purge Lieberman from Democratic ranks. (The New Republic's Jonathan Chait recently wrote that in the Los Angeles Times .) They see a self-destructive urge for party purification sweeping over Democratic liberals,...

Congress's Turn

If Democrats are divided, as Republicans gleefully note, about what to do in Iraq, Republicans have reacted to last week's Supreme Court decision striking down the administration's military tribunals in a way that makes clear that they themselves are divided about the rule of law in America. The majority and concurring opinions in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld told the Bush administration in no uncertain terms that if it wanted to establish some distinct procedures for trying the kinds of prisoners interned at Guantanamo Bay, Congress had to stipulate what those procedures should be. But the opinions said more than that. Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens also said that whatever procedures were adopted had to comport with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which mandates humane treatment for prisoners of war and entitles them to some rights at trial -- such as their, and their attorneys', right to actually attend. In February 2002, President Bush signed an order saying...

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