US Press: pick of the papers

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

1. The false Iran debate (New York Times)

In this sense, the whole Iran debate - with its receding "red lines," its shifting "zones of immunity," its threats and counter-threats, its bad metaphors and worse similes - is false, writes Roger Cohen.

2. What Could Be Next in the Race for President? (Roll Call)

Increasingly, former Speaker Newt Gingrich has become the Mr. Irrelevant in the GOP race for the presidential nomination, says Stuart Rothenberg.

3. Europe According to Hayek (Wall Street Journal) ($)

Twenty years after his death, the Austrian thinker still offers the most compelling explanation for the meltdown of the welfare state, writes Alberto Mingardi.

4. The economy, generically oversimplified (The Boston Globe) ($)

With the US economy steadily improving, Romney is now arguing that the recovery would be stronger but for the president's policies. Yet Romney would sound more convincing if his indictment of Obama weren't so familiar and generic, writes Scot Lehigh

5. Stand Your Ground tramples justice (Politico)

Trayvon Martin, a black child of 17, died at the invisible intersection of racial hatred and hating government, writes David Dante Troutt

6. The Descent of Hungary (Wall Street Journal)

How much can the European Union, by law a club of democracies, actually do to stop a freely elected government within its borders from turning its democracy into an autocracy? asks Raymond Zhong

7. When Did Hoodlums Start Wearing Hoods? (Slate)

London was plagued by young, unsupervised apprentice boys during the 12th century. They were always rioting over some political or religious issue, and they often wore hoods to hide their identities, says Brian Palmer

8. Ryan's challenge, Part 2 (Chicago Tribune)

By tackling entitlement costs, Paul Ryan asks Americans to choose their nation's future, says this Editorial.

9. Paranoia Strikes Deeper (New York Times)

Whatever Mr. Romney may personally believe, the fact is that by endorsing the right's paranoid fantasies, he is helping to further a dangerous trend in America's political life, writes Paul Krugman.

10. General Optimism (Slate)

Gen. John Allen believes that America will prevail in Afghanistan, writes Fred Kaplan

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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