And now the most compelling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
The organization that spearheaded those huge protests against war in Iraq in London over the weekend is threatening violence if the Blair government doesn't heed its wishes. Lindsey German (that's really her name), spokeswoman for the Stop the War Coalition, is also calling on the British Labor movement to go on strike if Britain goes to war. Meanwhile, among the protesters in New York over the weekend were the parents who put a sign around their daughter's neck, which read, "More candy and ice cream/less war and bigotry." Another read, "The Iraqi people need our love, not our bombs." Rod Dreher of The National Review says he saw one poster with a picture of President Bush with a Hitler-style mustache.
The German government was trying today to explain away a memo from its health ministry that surfaced over the weekend warning that Iraq has biological weapons, including smallpox. Germany has taken the position that it's up to the U.N. inspectors to determine if Iraq still has such arms. But the government didn't dispute the authenticity of the memo, dated last August, which said, "It has to be feared that in such a case [a U.S.-led war] that Iraq would react with its available biological weapons, including smallpox." The Schroeder government insists that such a risk is "very small."
The New York Times, meanwhile, seems to be reversing itself on Iraq. After months of criticizing the administration, the Times, in a Saturday editorial, dismissed the idea of waiting for another report to the United Nations by Hans Blix and company. "The Security Council," it said, "doesn't need to sit through more months of inconclusive reports. It needs full and immediate Iraqi disarmament. It needs to say so, backed by the threat of military force." The editorial described France's position as "wishful thinking."
First Amendment Violation?
The City of Las Cruces, N.M., whose name means the crosses in Spanish, is under fire from the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The reason is that the city's logo includes three crosses and the group says that violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. Jesse Chavez, president of the local chapter of the group, said, "The present logo is divisive, symbolizing an affiliation with a particular religion that excludes those not so affiliated." The city responded that the three crosses "are used to identify the name of the city."