Wayne Allensworth

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“October Surprise”

The Bush administration could be cooking up an “October surprise”—an attack on Iran—to boost the lagging fortunes of the President and the Republican Party, according to a recent editorial by Patrick J. Buchanan.  With midterm elections coming in November,

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Christians in Iraq

Christians in Iraq have faced continuous attacks since the U.S. invasion. On January 29, three people died and more than twenty were injured when bombers targeted six churches in coordinated attacks in Baghdad and Kirkuk as Sunday evening services ended.

An Adversarial Culture
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An Adversarial Culture

Following the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, John Walker Lindh, also known as Suleyman al-Faris and Abdul Farid, got his 15 minutes of fame the hard way.  Or perhaps it is more proper to say that he was the

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War Images

Christopher Wilson was arrested in October in Polk County, Florida, on obscenity charges. Mr. Wilson’s pornographic website contains pictures of the wives and girlfriends of his paying customers posing and engaging in sex acts, and he claims that about a

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Downing Street Memo

The Downing Street Memo, a British-government document on Iraq leaked in May to the Sunday Times, may be as close as the American public will get to a “smoking gun” implicating the Bush White House in manipulating this country

A Place to Stand
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A Place to Stand

The names are legendary; the tales of heroism, a part of our heritage as Texans and Americans.  Houston, Crockett, Bowie, Travis: All, save William Barret Travis, were nationally known figures before they came to Texas, which was then considered Mexican

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Why Russia Does Not Fear an Iranian Bomb

When President George W. Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bratislava, Slovakia, this past February, the first item on the White House’s laundry list of discussion points for the summit was nuclear programs, including Russian aid to Iran’s

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Becoming Extinct

Iraq’s Christians may be on their way to extinction, thanks to the Bush administration’s decision to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime.  Today, Iraq’s mostly Catholic and Orthodox Christians are fleeing the country, with their destination of choice being, ironically, Syria, another

A Rumor of War
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A Rumor of War

George W. Bush’s man at the CIA, Porter Goss, is now purging the agency, an act prompted by the persistence of certain parties in the CIA in presenting the White House with “reality-based analysis.”  Since such analysis presented a road

War on the Home Front
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War on the Home Front

U.S. officialdom calls them “Special Interest Aliens,” as much because they might have a special interest in us as we in them.  They are aliens from countries that are considered potential sources of terrorist attacks on the American homeland, and

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Everything Dies

It was one of those winter days in Texas that seem as gray as the surface of the moon and about as hospitable.  It’s cool outside, so you wear a jacket.  Inside, it’s stuffy.  I’m wearing a coat and running

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Key Proposals

President Bush announced in September that he would partially support key proposals for intelligence reform made by the September 11 Commission, which, in its final report, recommended a sweeping restructuring of the U.S. intelligence apparatus.  The commission called for the

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Remembering the Alamo

The Alamo
Produced by Todd Hallowell and Philip Steuer
Written by John Lee Hancock, Leslie Bohem, and Stephen Gaghan
Directed by John Lee Hancock
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures

The familiar mythic image of the Alamo was burned into my mind

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The Bush Clan at the “Oligarchs’ Ball”

Vladimir Putin reacted swiftly to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s criticism of Russian democracy following the Russian president’s reelection on March 14.  The exchange indicated increasing tensions in U.S.-Russian relations, tensions that may have as much to do with

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Strange Bedfellows

Last November’s “Rose Revolution” in the Caucasian republic of Georgia made political bedfellows of an unlikely couple: George W. Bush and billionaire “philanthropist” and global meddler George Soros.  The apparent cooperation between the Bush administration and Soros in backing the

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Firing the Government

Vladimir Putin’s surprise firing of the Russian government on February 24 and his appointment of “technocratic” Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov on March 1 had Western officials and observers buzzing about another round of “reform” and Russian cooperation with the West,

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Managed Democracy

Russia’s parliamentary elections, held December 7, produced a wave of alarmed reactions in the Western press that betray the ignorance and hypocrisy of Western elite thinking regarding Russia and the West’s—particularly Washington’s—relations with Moscow.

The Kremlin-backed United Russia party carried

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Johnny Cash, R.I.P.

John R. Cash went to his reward on September 12.  His beloved wife, June, preceded the “Man in Black” in death on May 15.  His friends report that Johnny Cash was at peace and ready to meet his Maker.  Cash

The Real War
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The Real War

In a small café in Belgrade nearly 20 years ago, I had a drink with a young man named Michael.  He was an architect and, like many people I met there, was no friend of the Soviet regime, which was

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Murder in Politics

Sergey Yushenkov’s murder on April 17 may have been the result of machinations aimed at destroying Russian President Vladimir Putin politically and personally, as well as undermining U.S.-Russia relations, seemingly on track again after the rift over Iraq.  Gunned down

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Palestinianization and the Iraq War

As American troops seized the center of Baghdad on April 9, looting, guerrilla warfare, and chaos continued across Iraq.  In 21 days, U.S. forces had driven to the capital of Saddam’s Iraq, though arguably Washington had been making war on

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Hardened Line

Vladimir Putin, prodded by a reporter’s question regarding the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, remarked that Russia, for “economic and political” reasons, “has no interest in the defeat of the United States.”   Putin’s comments were seen by Russian media observers

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Avoiding a Crisis

Russia may have avoided a full-scale political crisis, at least temporarily, thanks to the Bush administration’s decision in mid-March not to pursue a U.N. Security Council vote on its latest resolution on Iraq. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin had appeared ready

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A Surprising Threat of Veto

Vladimir Putin, during his February trip to Germany and France, surprised Kremlin watchers east and west by threatening to veto any U.S.- or U.K.-sponsored resolution on military action against Iraq.  In Paris, Putin told reporters that, if a resolution on

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A Place Called Home

Kazan was preparing for her 1,000-year anniversary last August when Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived to address the World Tatar Congress in what once had been the center of a Tatar khanate.  The goal of the congress was the “spiritual

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Paying the Price

Iraqi Christians are paying the price of the Bush administration’s desire to remove Saddam Hussein.  The Iranian Revolution and the rising influence of militant Islam have already forced the secular Iraqi dictatorship to make concessions to proponents of Iraq’s Islamicization,

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Memorial Day

We used to go there on every Memorial Day—a small national cemetery off the road a piece in the woods.  It was usually warm; the woods, deep, green, and moist.  We would walk down a dirt path to the stone

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Cancelling a Contract

Saddam Hussein, a Kremlin source told the Russian Information Agency (RIA-Novosti), “isn’t so nice that you would want to defend him just for his own sake.”  Following the December 12, 2002, announcement by the Iraqi government that it had cancelled

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Hard Bargaining

A U.N. resolution concerning weapons inspections in Iraq made October a month for hard bargaining among Washington, Paris, and Moscow.  Washington and London both desired a resolution that would allow the automatic application of force should Iraq obstruct any proposed

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Living With the Questions

It was hot out there, the sun glaring down on us in our suits and ties.  The air was sort of smoky, the way it usually is down here near the Gulf Coast.  A parade of suits and uniforms marched

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Little Goodbyes

The sun is breaking through, the dark green grass shimmering as it is swept back and forth by the wind like the mane of a wild mustang running along a plain.  Down here, near Madisonville along I-45 South, the rains

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You Can’t Get There From Here

The sun is shining on a typical warm day.  I roll my sleeves up, let the window down, and watch the train go by.  The battered Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Santa Fe boxcars roll past, clackity-clacking and swaying just

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Remembering Tender Mercies

In the years just before America’s entry into World War II, thousands of people, shaken and scattered by the Great Depression, made their way to Houston, where the shipyards were booming.

My people wound up there, too.  The place they

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All the Time in the World

The hawk, golden wings rustling in a stiff, cold breeze, floats above the prairie, eyeing its prey.  A tiny movement in the sea of grass probably stirred the majestic beast from the powerline that served as a makeshift perch: The

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The Next Sound You Hear

We’ve crammed the Suburban with about as many people as it can carry, driving the fence line on a section of land not far from Meridian, Texas, on a cool Sunday afternoon during deer season.  My brother left a message

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Christmas, Texas

I am fumbling in the console, looking for my Jim Reeves Christmas CD, when I notice the wall of rolling, gray clouds approaching from the east.  The sun is sliding slowly beneath the horizon in the west, shooting shards

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The Trees of Autumn

It is a warm night for November, even in Texas.  Thanksgiving is a few days away, and the warm weather, interrupted by a cool snap, has returned, reimposing itself like an unwelcome guest on an autumn background of falling leaves

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Mighty Seer, in Days of Old

It’s near the end of October, and the air is crisp and cool.  The wind blows hard here on the prairie, the thermometer failing to reflect the chill you feel on your skin and in your bones.  A smattering of

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Chief Target

Hispanic voters remain the chief target of GOP strategists, at least in Texas.  In the wake of Republican Orlando Sanchez’s December 1 runoff loss to Houston’s incumbent black mayor, Lee Brown—Sanchez garnered 48 percent of the vote to Brown’s 52

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The Season of Rain and Death

A blood-red sun is setting on the horizon, distant but familiar, dull but glowing, like the bloodshot eye of a wounded Titan.  Layers of pasty-blue, thin, translucent clouds drape the blood-eye image, as if they themselves were the misty, cloudlike

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Been There, Done That

It is a beautiful April evening in Hico, Texas. My wife and I are having dinner with my in-laws, and I am eyeballing a statue of Billy the Kid across the street from Lilly’s Restaurant. Hico, you see, was the

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Apocalypse Now

We are flying amid fluffy, white cottonball clouds that reach above us to tremendous heights, forming darker mountain peaks lined with crevices and tinged by the pinkish-orange glow of the setting sun. My six-year-old daughter, eyes wide in innocent fascination,

Wolfs Fang, Fox’s Tail
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Wolfs Fang, Fox’s Tail

        “War is war. Guns are not just for decoration.”
—V.I. Lenin

By March 1920, Russia’s whites—an odd and disparate conglomeration of monarchists, anti-Bolshevik socialists, jaded liberals, reactionary clerics, frightened nobles, disinherited landowners, and loyalist army officers and soldiers—had turned what

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Sources of Contention

Cultural symbols are sources of contention everywhere. In Russia, a squabble over a monument rings a bell with this proud Southerner. The powerful Communist (CPRF) faction in the Duma recently raised the question of returning “Iron Feliks” Dzerzhinsky, the Soviet

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The Face of Battle

Saving Private Ryan
Produced by Steven Spielberg
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by Robert Rodat
Released by Paramount and DreamWorks SKG

If you visit the American cemeteries near the beaches at Normandy—there are two of them—you may pick up a