The Great Debate: Should Human Cloning Be Banned? Wednesday, April 2, 6 p.m., Tsai Performance Center

Week of 28 March 2003· Vol. VI, No. 26

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CNN’s Money and Markets: A history of failure in the Middle East

In a March 20 interview on CNN’s Money and Markets, David Fromkin, a CAS professor of international relations and director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, says that countries that have tried to impose their political agenda in the Middle East have rarely met with success. Fromkin, the author of A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, says countries that move in and try to impose change find that “the Middle East is so alien to us and we have had an incomplete understanding of it.” When British officials redesigned the area after World War I, he points out, despite the great amount of time they spent there, “the striking thing is how little they understood, how many mistakes they made, how much misunderstanding they had.” Should Saddam Hussein be forced out of power, Fromkin anticipates that the United States will face a daunting challenge, because “by and large, people prefer a government of their own that’s bad to a foreign government that’s good.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Democrats more reluctant to criticize Bush

“It’s more difficult to criticize the president when we’re at war,” says former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, a Democrat seeking the 2004 presidential nomination based on his antiwar stance. Other Democratic presidential hopefuls are quickly shifting their campaign tactics and forging a closer alliance with the president, reports the March 23 Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Robert Dallek, a CAS professor of history and a presidential scholar, says that it’s clear that Bush -- and the Republican Party -- would “get a big boost” if the war is wrapped up quickly and successfully. However, he says, it could be a different story if the war drags on or has a messy aftermath, if there’s damaging fallout to the economy, or if the nation gets swept up in protests reminiscent of the Vietnam War. Dallek predicts a vigorous debate of the war and points to two historical examples. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln faced a strong reelection challenge from General George B. McClellan, who was running on the Democratic peace platform, but the president won in a landslide after the Union Army started winning battles and General Sherman captured Atlanta. In 1968, in the midst of the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson was so unnerved by the strong showing of peace candidate Eugene McCarthy in the New Hampshire primary that he decided not to run for reelection.

Christian Science Monitor: It’s not a war about oil

The United States maintains that Iraq’s oil wells are essential to rebuilding the country and its economy, but how oil production and its infrastructure will be administered after the war are questions that concern the international community, reports the March 24 Christian Science Monitor. “Even if Iraq’s oil fields aren’t damaged any further [in this war],” says Farouk El-Baz, a CAS research professor and the director of BU’s Center for Remote Sensing, “you’re going to see a need to spend a good deal of money to fix the infrastructure.” Before the Gulf War, Iraq produced nearly 3.5 million barrels of oil a day, but this fell to about 2 million barrels following the war. Experts say modernization of the infrastructure could return Iraq to its pre–Gulf War production within a few years. “I foresee the administration being very sensitive to perceptions of how it is handling the oil issue,” says El-Baz. “What we’re seeing indicates the United Nations will be brought back into this, as one way of making the point very clearly that this was not a war about oil.”

New York Times: Reducing stress of war on armed forces

To ease the stress that military personnel have always faced during war, they now receive stress inoculation training, which helps them deal with factors ranging from the barrage of combat noise to physical injuries to death and represents a more proactive response to problems faced by soldiers than in the past, says the March 25 New York Times. “The modern military is much better prepared than it was in the past to monitor and identify combat stress reactions and mental health problems during and after missions,” says Brett Litz, a MED associate professor of psychiatry and the assistant director for the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. He says officers and enlisted men and women are now taught to recognize signs of trouble, such as panic, numbness, paralysis, irritability, unsteadiness, depression, and withdrawal from others, both in themselves and in their comrades.


28 March 2003
Boston University
Office of University Relations