Which is more likely to breed anti-Americanism and radical Islam—an American-run prison in Iraq, or an American-run prison in America? The depredations at Abu Ghraib notwithstanding, a report from the Department of Justice suggests that the answer may be the latter. Despite recent cautionary examples like Jose Padilla, who is believed to have been radicalized in prison before allegedly plotting to detonate a dirty bomb (the shoe bomber Richard Reid is thought to have been similarly radicalized in a British prison), the Justice Department reports that safeguards against religious extremism in federal prisons are still remarkably lax. No national Islamic organization is currently authorized by the Bureau of Prisons to approve new Muslim chaplains, which has led to an acute clerical shortage. There is currently only one chaplain for every 900 Muslim inmates, and no new Muslim chaplains have been hired since 2001. This gap is being filled by inmate-led prayer sessions—and inmates, according to interviews with prison officials and Muslim chaplains, are likely to radicalize their fellow prisoners, urging them to overthrow the U.S. government (because "Muslims aren't cowards," as one group of converts was taught) and preaching a breed of "Prison Islam" that distorts Koranic teaching to promote violence and gang loyalty. France has already seen the results of a similar trend, the report notes. In French prisons inmates exercise considerable control over Muslim worship, creating a "terrorist university" that spreads anti-Semitic and anti-Western tapes, books, and pamphlets throughout the penal system.
—"A Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Selection of Muslim Religious Services Providers," Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General
When the Center for Global Development ranked rich countries' commitment to fighting global poverty in 2003—taking into account trade, immigration, investment, peacekeeping, foreign-aid, and environmental-protection policies—the United States came in a miserable twentieth out of twenty-one nations. The 2003 index, however, drew complaints of unfairness and inaccuracy. According to a Washington Post columnist, it considered only "multilateral" peacekeeping, ignoring the missions America takes on alone; it measured gross rather than net immigration levels, giving an unfair boost to Switzerland and other countries that admit numerous foreign workers only to kick them out later; and it excluded private foreign-aid donations, which some U.S. tax incentives encourage. In this year's "Ranking the Rich" index, which corrects for these and other factors, the United States rises to a four-way tie for seventh place—still behind global good cops like Sweden and Canada, but even with France and Germany, and way ahead of Japan (which ranked dead last for the second year running). Judging from the rankings, America excels at helping the developing world indirectly, through trade policies that benefit developing nations and through its easygoing (or at least loosely enforced) immigration laws. When it comes to direct aid, the United States is far stingier, coming in nineteenth on the index, ahead of only Greece and New Zealand. And on environmental policies the United States ranks last.