5 Best Monday Columns

Jihadists crossing the southwest border, questions for Kagan, and more

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  • Paul Krugman on the Third Depression "We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression," writes the New York Times columnist, reflecting on global depressions of the past and continuing his current trend of gloomy prognoses. "It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost--to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs-- will nonetheless be immense." While Krugman often comments on the increasingly deteriorating world economy, the basis for his prediction is not rooted in the business cycle, but in the "stunning resurgence of hard-money and balanced-budget orthodoxy" among policy-makers.
  • Deroy Murdock on Suspected Jihadists Entering Through Arizona In a National Review column guaranteed to elicit strong emotion, whether alarm in conservatives worried about terrorism or outrage among liberals concerned about racial profiling, Murdock looks at evidence that the illegal immigrants coming through the southwest border are not, in fact, all Central and South Americans looking for a good life. Syrians, Sudanese, and Iranians have also come into the U.S. through this route, and while nationality isn't itself a signal of malevolence, Murdock points out that Border Patrol agents have found on some of these illegal immigrants "an Arabic clothing patch that reads 'martyr' and 'way to immortality' and another clothing patch that shows a jet flying into a skyscraper." A report by the House Homeland Security Investigations Subcommittee also says members of Hezbollah are known to have come in through the southwest border. Murdock, in short, is worried the porous border is letting in terrorists bent on causing American citizens real harm.
  • Timothy Johnson and Judy Norsigian on Needless Cesareans The obstetrician and executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves argue that too many cesareans are being performed where they aren't medically needed, leading to an increased risk of complications and an increased burden on taxpayers, since "the caesarean rate for Massachusetts mothers on Medicaid is increasing at a faster pace than among privately insured mothers." Lowering the cesarean rate, they say, does have something to do with dealing with "extreme obesity," which can lead to cesareans, but also should involve better policies in hospitals.
  • George Will's Questions for Elena Kagan The famously verbose and erudite conservative columnist puts together thirteen tough questions for the Supreme Court nominee (such as asking her to defend the position of her former boss, Thurgood Marshall) and then tosses in a "bonus" question: "In Roe v. Wade, the court held that the abortion right is different in each of the three trimesters of pregnancy. Is it odd that the meaning of the Constitution's text would be different if the number of months in the gestation of a human infant were a prime number?"
  • Ross Douthat on the Way Out of Afghanistan "The darker things get and the more setbacks we suffer, the better the odds that we'll be staying there indefinitely," proclaims Douthat in The New York Times. The combination of 9/11 memory, the counterterrorism significance of the Af-Pak scenario, and "the larger region's volatility" makes Afghanistan hard to abandon. Unfortunately, the quickest route to victory might involve more civilian casualties and more radicalizedmen like the "would-be Times Square bomber" in the long run.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.