Jacob Laksin

Jacob Laksin is a writer in New York City.

Where Gitmo Meets Castro

 

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA — For anyone wishing to see what it would be like to live under communism, the Cuban border with America’s naval base at Guantanamo Bay offers a brief but decidedly memorable taste. Standing near Gitmo’s Northeast gate, the lone crossing point between the base and Cuba, you have the disturbing feeling that […]

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Weird New Jersey

 

On October 22, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine presided over a much-publicized groundbreaking for the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, a state-of-the-art research laboratory that, according to the advanced billing, would attract a “world-class faculty” and “advance stem cell research worldwide.” Given that New Jersey voters had yet to approve the governor’s plan to […]

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Letter From Djibouti

 

DJIBOUTI, Djibouti — If there were to be a contest for the world’s most beautiful topography, it would take a formidable challenge to knock Djibouti out of last place. From the air, the country calls to mind nothing so much as a vast, sprawling junkyard, with the gutted remains of single-engine planes, taxicabs, and roofless […]

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Prison Reds

 

For over two decades, Brigitte Mohnhaupt has been known as the most dangerous woman in Germany. The distinction is well deserved. A onetime commando in the Red Army Faction, the Marxist-Leninist guerrilla movement that terrorized democratic West Germany in the ’70s and ’80s, she was sentenced in 1985 to five life terms and an additional […]

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In Defense of Harriet Miers

 

It was an unsentimental farewell that greeted Harriet Miers’ resignation last week as White House counsel. Conservatives, still sore over what they consider her undeserved nomination to the Supreme Court, were positively giddy at her departure. Likewise, the Left, which had sneeringly regarded Miers as a Bush administration loyalist — and hence implicated in its […]

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The Iraqis Themselves

 

The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq Rory Stewart (Harcourt, 416 pages, $25) Few subjects have yielded so much unedifying literature in recent years as the Iraq war. Not the least trivial defect of books on Iraq is that instead of letting the facts speak for themselves, they […]

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Shattered Grass

 

The most quoted line from Gunter Grass’s 2003 novel Crabwalk concerned the dark secrets embedded in Germany’s past. “History, or, to be more precise, the history we Germans have repeatedly mucked up, is a clogged toilet,” observes one of Grass’s characters. “We flush and flush, but the sh*t keeps rising.” So it does, as the […]

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His Deranged Values

 

Two surprises greeted the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas last week. First it triumphed over corruption-mired Fatah in the Palestinian elections. Next it unexpectedly secured the endorsement of a former American president. The president in question is, of course, Jimmy Carter. Not a few outrages have issued from the 39th president since he appointed himself, on […]

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Wanted: A Democratic Foreign Policy

 

Conventional wisdom has it that today’s Democratic Party lacks a serious foreign policy platform. For reasons not difficult to discern, Democrats have dismissed the charge as the caricature of mean-spirited Republicans and their media surrogates. But the evidence suggests that it has resonance within the party. As the Boston Globe reported in early August, Democratic […]

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Remembering Steven Vincent

 

“It takes courage to die for a cause, but also to live for one.” So wrote Azar Nafisi in Reading Lolita in Tehran, her heartrending memoir of life in Islamist Iran. Unyieldingly modest, Steven Vincent would have questioned the pertinence of that insight to his own circumstances. Yet it aptly captures the legacy of the […]

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