Flashbacks: November 24, 2006

The Boston Phoenix has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966.
By FLASHBACKS  |  November 21, 2006

The wrong idea | 5 years ago | November 20, 2001 | Seth Gitell called out Colin Powell on his diplomatic missteps.
“The United States finally has the terrorists on the run. What better time to shift the focus of the world’s attention from Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Afghanistan? Secretary of State Colin Powell did just that when he delivered his long-awaited speech on Middle East policy at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, yesterday. It represented a triumph of moral equivalence — something at which State Department officials are skilled.

“In his speech, Powell was most stern when criticizing Israel’s presence in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza. ‘The occupation must end,’ he thundered. ‘Israeli settlement activity has severely undermined Palestinian trust and hope. It preempts and prejudges the outcome of negotiations, and in doing so, cripples chances for real peace and security.’ In short, Powell’s equation was both simple and fatuous: Palestinian terrorism equals Israeli settlement activity. By equating the two, Powell is setting the stage for more terrorism, not less. . . .

“Powell’s speech raises a final question. What is it about the State Department, ensconced in its headquarters in Foggy Bottom, that makes these bureaucrats fail to see the world in clear terms? Sometimes it seems as though State Department bureaucrats are still angry that President Harry Truman went ahead and recognized Israel over their objections. That was back in 1948. If we’ve learned anything since then, it’s that the State Department is more often than not wrong about issues of a serious nature. Most recent examples? Don’t ally with the Northern Alliance. Don’t enter Kabul.”

Lab rats | 10 years ago | November 22, 1996 | Tim Sandler questioned Gillette’s claim that it hadn’t harmed animals during product testing.
“It was an occasion that Boston-based Gillette Company hailed as a milestone. The behemoth company — locked in a long-standing battle with activists over its practice of testing products on animals — boasted earlier this month that during fiscal year 1996, no animals were sacrificed for research and safety testing of its cosmetics products.

“Rodents, the company claimed, were the only animals used for testing — and those were used only for prescription-drug research, not for products catering to consumer vanity. No rabbits, the company emphasized, were used for any purpose.

“Gillette has been particularly sensitive about its testing on rabbits ever since a former Gillette lab technician went public with horrendous tales — and actual film — of rabbits with their skin peeled and blistered by the ingredients in dandruff shampoo. It was a public-relations nightmare that continues to haunt the company.

“But there are two little problems with Gillette’s latest declaration.

“First, the company has made no promise to give up testing on rabbits. It merely contends that they’re not being used for lab testing now. Second, Gillette has never manufactured ‘prescription drugs.’ So what are those rodents being used for?”

Young blood | 15 years ago | November 22, 1991 | Enzo DiMatteo revealed a shocking statistic concerning juvenile offenders in this country.
“Except for Iraq and Iran, more juvenile offenders have been executed in the United States than in any other country, says human-rights watchdog Amnesty International.

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