Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is editor-at-large of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

At the Justice Department, Stuff Happens

A shrug in the face of condemnation, and a refusal to act on behalf of swindled Enron shareholders. Just another day at the DoJ.

Monday was just a day like any other at our Department of Justice. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he wasn't paying close attention to the fact that 53 senators had in essence voted that they had no confidence in him as the nation's chief law enforcer. At the same time, Solicitor General Paul Clement declined to file a friend-of-the-court brief on the side of the plaintiffs in an upcoming Supreme Court case that will determine whether Enron's shareholders can receive any damages from the banks and brokerage houses that supplied the matches when Enron cooked its books. In choosing not to file a brief, Clement turned down a request from the Securities and Exchange Commission to have the government intervene on shareholders' behalf. The SEC's petition had been something of a surprise, since its chairman, former representative Christopher Cox, had generally shown more solicitude to the concerns of financial institutions than to those of litigious investors. But at the heart of the...

Iraq as South Korea?!

Desperate times breed desperate analogies -- and comparing an indefinite U.S. occupation of Iraq to the American presence in South Korea is at once daft and revealing.

So it turns out that Iraq is like South Korea. It took the Bush administration more than four years from the time U.S. forces invaded Iraq to formulate this thought -- or, more precisely, to promulgate it. There's substantial evidence that the administration has actually envisioned, and been building, permanent, large-scale U.S. military bases in Iraq for two years. But until the past couple of weeks, it denied it had plans for permanent bases there. As reporter Spencer Ackerman noted in a Prospect article last fall documenting the plans for permanent bases in Iraq, the official response of administration officials when asked about a permanent U.S. occupation was to deny any such desire. Early last year, Zalmay Khalilzad, then the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told Congress, "We have no goal of establishing permanent bases." But that was then. With public tolerance for the president's war in Iraq about at its end, the White House is compelled to come up with a less costly (in lives, limbs...

Dying for an Iraq that Isn't

We are fighting for a nonsectarian, pluralistic Iraq that has long since been blasted out of existence.

Of all the absurdities attending our unending war in Iraq, the greatest is this: We are fighting to defend that which is not there. We are fighting for a national government that is not national but sectarian, and has shown no capacity to govern. We are training Iraq's security forces to combat sectarian violence though those forces are thoroughly sectarian and have themselves engaged in large-scale sectarian violence. We are fighting for a nonsectarian, pluralistic Iraq, though whatever nonsectarian and pluralistic institutions existed before our invasion have long since been blasted out of existence. In the December 2005 parliamentary elections, the one nonsectarian party, which ran both Shiite and Sunni candidates, won just 8 percent of the vote. Every day, George W. Bush asks young Americans to die in defense of an Iraq that has ceased to exist (if it ever did) in the hearts and minds of Iraqis. What Iraqis believe in are sectarian or tribal Iraqs -- a Shiite Iraq, a Sunni Iraq,...

For a Global FDA

If we're going to globalize the food we eat and still wish to be safe, we need to get serious.

And what is madame's dining preference this evening? Scallops coated with putrefying bacteria? Or mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides? These delicacies and more were among the hundred-plus foods from China that our Food and Drug Administration detained at U.S. ports last month, Rick Weiss reported in Sunday's Washington Post . Detained and sent back to the importers, who ofttimes sent them back to us again. And that's just the hors d'oeuvres. Moving on to the entrée, madame can sup on U.S. chicken, pork, and fish tainted with Chinese pet food ingredients, or on poultry arriving in crates labeled "prune slices" and "vegetables," from Chinese slaughterhouses straight out of Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, The Jungle. Madame will be happy to know that her government is working to speed more of these toxins to her table. FDA inspectors are able to check less than 1 percent of regulated Chinese food imports (which is why the importers, if at first they don't succeed, try, try again...

The Cost of the "Voter Fraud" Fraud

The real scandal behind the U.S. attorney firings is the Republican Party's pursuit of voter suppression.

If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales clings to his job much longer, he may end up as the only remaining employee of the Justice Department. By resigning on Monday, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty joined Gonzales's chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson; the department's White House liaison, Monica Goodling; and Justice official Michael Battle, who oversaw the dismissal of federal prosecutors, on the list of Gonzalesites who've left the building. At this point, the number of U.S. attorneys dismissed for political reasons still exceeds the number of Justice officials who've left because of their involvement in dismissing those attorneys or dissembling about it, but the ratio is tightening. By now, it's abundantly clear that a number of the U.S. attorneys whom Gonzales's minions sent packing didn't live up to Karl Rove's expectations in one crucial particular: They had failed to ring up convictions, or even mount prosecutions, for voter fraud. As Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein reported in...