Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is a columnist for The American Prospect. She is research director of People for the American Way, and a winner of the Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism. Opinions expressed here are her own.

Recent Articles


BLACKWATER RUNS DEEP. The thing I find most interesting about yesterday's terrible news of the killing of civilians , allegedly by the hired guns of Blackwater USA , is that it actually made news. In fact, it seems that the matter of the military's outsourcing of tasks ranging from security to interrogation is finally finding its way into the public conscience, and the public is apparently not at ease with this state of affairs. I've long wondered why the phenomenon was so taken for granted by media and ordinary citizens. While working for a labor union that represented federal employees, I got a glimpse at the extent of the government's outsourcing of security and procurement operations to for-profit corporations, but had a hard time finding a reporter or editor who found it as troubling as I did. Here's a brief and incomplete synopsis of contractor complicity in -- or instigation of -- torture and murder: Abu Ghraib prison ( interrogations -- see Tara McKelvey 's Monstering for more...


TED OLSON COULD BE EATING WORMS. First Harry Reid ; now, the New York Times editorial board. Yesterday afternoon, the Senate majority leader issued a statement declaring his opposition to any potential nomination of Theodore B. Olson as the replacement for departing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales , and saying, "I intend to do everything I can to prevent him from being confirmed as the next attorney general." Today, the New York Times weighs in on Olson and so much more in its editorial on who the next attorney general should not be, and what she or he must do to fix the Department of Justice (DoJ), which the Times declares "a disaster zone." Of Olson, who, says the Times , "may be best remembered for representing Mr. Bush in Bush v. Gore , the Supreme Court case that stopped the vote recount in Florida after the 2000 election." The editorial writer goes on to note that Olson "was also on the board of the American Spectator magazine, which conducted the “Arkansas Project,...


SEEMS I'VE HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE. All day, I've been racking my brain, trying to recall from which venomous right-wing media wag I had heard that term, "General Betray Us," before -- yes, long before the tin-eared folks at got hold of it. I thought it was Limbaugh , but I could find no reference to him saying it, even after a maddening hour spent working The Google. I see now that The Politico 's Ben Smith has traced the wing-nut provenance of that lovely moniker. Seems it happened in January, when a caller to the Rush Limbaugh show used it to describe a Republican senator who was not playing ball on the war. Now, while the media jump all over MoveOn for all but calling Gen. David Petraeus a traitor, it seems that no similar fuss was made when the same epithet was used to attack the winner of two Purple Hearts . --Adele M. Stan

Pakistan on the Brink

Six years after the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration encourages more strife in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

President Bush, center, gestures as Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, left, look on during a statement in the White House Rose Garden in September 2006. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
"When the civil war begins, it will begin here," said my self-appointed tour guide, a drunken Frenchman with a flare for the dramatic. He made a sweeping gesture with one hand as the other gripped the steering wheel of the tiny car we occupied, driving down the main drag of Peshawar , Pakistan, an ancient trading post near the Afghan border. The Frenchman, after a night of revelry at the American Club -- the one place in town where alcohol was available to the sizable community of Western do-gooders and operatives -- had offered to give me a lift back to the guesthouse where I was staying. It was May of 1998, and at the edges of the dusty town, refugee camps teemed with tens of thousands of Afghans who had fled either the Taliban or the war that preceded the Taliban's march into Kabul, the Afghan capital. Peshawar was, at around that time, home to Shiekh Osama bin Laden, who had just issued a de facto fatwa on the heads of Americans, declaring it the duty of Muslims to kill Americans...


THE DEVOLUTION OF MEAT INSPECTION. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is reporting that the farm bill passed by the House (H.R. 2419) last July will greatly reduce federal meat inspection, instead referring inspections of the meat processed by most plants to the purview of the states. AFGE represents federal meat inspectors. (I worked for the union from 2001-2005.) The offending provisions were added "at the last moment and without the benefit of public hearings," according to AFGE Legislative Director Beth Moten . The union is joined in its opposition to the meat inspection provisions by the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League, the Government Accountability Project and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). From AFGE's release : The Farm Bill [if passed as is by the Senate] would also remove the current ban on shipping state-inspected meat to other states....A report issued in September of last year [by the...