Liz Penn writes
My favorite individual moment in a movie this summer occurs near the end of Spiderman 2. After untold travails (saving the world from a mechanical-armed human octopus, losing his girlfriend to a smug astronaut, having the last hors-d'oeuvre snatched out from under his nose at a humiliating party), the divided hero, Peter Parker/Spiderman (Tobey Maguire), finds himself holding up a huge wall of iron scaffolding that is about to crush his sweetheart, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). For reasons not worth going into here, a nuclear fireball burns nearby as the eight-limbed villain, Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) thrashes in his Miltonic death throes. Straining under the weight of the massive slab of iron, Spidey/Parker -- he's somewhere halfway between the two by this point, having dispensed with his red-and-blue disguise and revealed his human, bespectacled identity to those closest to him -- looks Mary Jane in the eye and says plaintively, "This is really heavy."John Prendergrast, among others, has been all over the place trying to stop the Sudanese genocide in Darfur. I've seen him on Charlie Rose and on CSPAN speaking to a small college crowd at American University in DC. He's written op-eds for major newspapers and has appeared before House and Senate committees. Coupled with the efforts of Nicholas D. Kristof, Samantha Power, Julie Flint, Congressman Donald Payne and many, many others, enough pressure was put on the White House for it to name the beast. Secretary of State Colin Powell said "genocide" was occurring in Darfur, which must have been a first.
Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice say elections will go ahead in Iraq despite increased, pre-election violence by insurgents. The election in January will be another first and important milestone in the war on Islamic fundamentalism.
American soldiers and Iraqi police are venturing back into the Sunni triangle in what is essentially a war of attrition.
American forces entered the city of Samarra for the first time in months on Thursday, taking what appeared to be a small but significant step in their effort to regain control of contested Sunni areas north and west of the capital.
American commanders said their forces, accompanied by members of the Iraqi police and by national guard soldiers, drove into the city Thursday morning after gaining assurances from local Iraqi leaders that they would not be fired on. The local leaders said they sensed divisions within the insurgents' ranks between those who favored some accommodation with the Americans and those who rejected it, and felt secure enough to issue the temporary guarantee.
On Wednesday, in an interview with The Associated Press, Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste, the commander of the First Infantry Division, said his men were planning to go into Samarra whether they had a deal or not.
"It'll be a quick fight and the enemy is going to die fast," General Batiste said from his headquarters in Tikrit. "The message for the people of Samarra is: peacefully or not, this is going to be solved."