US press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. This War Is Not Over Yet (New York Times)

President Obama can't have it both ways: if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are ending, the detention of enemy prisoners without charges must end, too, argues Mary L. Dudziak.

2. The super PAC arms race (Oregonian)

The Obama campaign's move goes beyond unilateral disarmament. It amounts to dangerous proliferation in the nuclear arms race of campaign spending, writes Ruth Marcus.

3. New global deal on climate change (Politico)

The U.S. is now a member of a bold new initiative that brings hope for national action, says John D. Podesta and Andrew Light.

4. Presidential history lesson: Talk less, promise less (USA Today)

Someday, maybe a president will simply promise to run the government well, defend the country from its enemies, let us sort out our problems more on our own, and leave the miracle-working to God, writes Steven Hayward.

5. A 'cosmic wager' on the Muslim Brotherhood (Washington Post)

The Obama administration has made what might be described as a "cosmic wager" on the Muslim Brotherhood's peaceful intentions, writes David Ignatius.

6. On budget, 10 is not enough (Politico)

We need to start using a 25-year window if we want to be fiscally honest, writes Michael A. Peterson.

7. If Iran already has the bomb, what then? (Washington Times)

The White House and Congress should immediately cooperate on programs to achieve regime change in Iran - by supporting and arming the majority of the Iranian people who want to overthrow the mullahs, says Peter Pry.

8. Egypt's cold shoulder (Los Angeles Times)

A sudden new wave of anti-Americanism is thriving in Cairo, says David Schenker.

9. Mitt Romney's Thirst (New York Times)

Romney's attempt to portray himself as "severely conservative" just isn't cutting it, says Charles M. Blow.

10. Acting Out on ACTA (Wall Street Journal)

Internet populism threatens another antipiracy campaign, argues this editorial.

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Must I unremember the day I wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man?

At that time we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

The misremembering of history interrupts these tales of my own squalid past. Very often I find myself wishing my memories were wrong, or that I’d forgotten more than I have. This would certainly be the case were I to be a politician, albeit a small-time one in big-time government. In the era of renunciations and sincere apologies, I would have to say sorry most of the time.

But I can’t. I can’t get past that clear day in May 1981, when the tangy cold spring air of a New York day got right inside me. Ambling home from another long, messy night in the Village, I was near 52nd when I saw people carrying a coffin.

“It’s not him, of course. It’s a fake coffin,” said a woman who saw the shock on my face. Maybe I was already crying. I knew and didn’t know but asked anyway.

“Yes. Bobby.”

Bobby Sands had died. Crowds were gathering with banners about Smashing Long Kesh and Smashing Thatcher.

The shock of it has never left me and God knows “martyrs” come two a penny now. Yet the idea that someone can starve themselves slowly to death for an idea is shocking. The idea that someone can let them do it, either “for” a United Ireland or “for” a United Kingdom, remains profoundly disturbing to me.

I need no lectures about what vile and murderous bastards the IRA were, or the numbers of innocents they killed. Nor about the smeary sentimentality of martyrdom itself. All I can say is that I had little idea of what “we” did in Ireland as long as I lived in England. A boy at school had run off to join the IRA. My mum said, “Well, he’s always been tapped, that one.”

We were kept ignorant. For some stupid reason, I did not think that Thatcher would let the hunger strikers die.

Their demands, remember, were the right not to wear prison uniform or to do prison work, rights to free association and education within the prison, one visit, one parcel, one letter a week. They wanted to be treated as political prisoners. Thatcher said Sands had no mandate. He was actually an MP, with more votes than she ever won in Finchley.

In New York that day, when we got to Third Avenue, there was anger and then solemnity. There were mumblings about what a death like that entailed . . . Mandela then instigated a hunger strike on Robben Island. There were protests in Milan and Ghent. French towns would name streets after Sands.

At that time, though, yes, we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

So, must I unremember that day when I sat down on the pavement and wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man? Let me know how to uncry all those tears shed for that terrible, terrible waste.

Suzanne Moore is a writer for the Guardian and the New Statesman. She writes the weekly “Telling Tales” column in the NS.

This article first appeared in the 01 October 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide