Nation

As everyone knows, international law exists only to be broken, and the victors get to determine the spoils of war. But is this not a bit much? Is this not verifiable evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity? Here's what the 1979 protocol to the Geneva Convention says: "It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works." So who's going to arrest George Bush Sr., who oversaw this war? Not his son, that's for sure.


Condit Stitches Career Back Together
On the Mend

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How the Sick Go Broke

From Bleeding the Patient, as reported in Norton’s Bankruptcy Advisor:

• 45.6 percent of all bankruptcies can be traced to medical debt.

• 326,441 families blamed sickness for bringing them down in 1999.

• 269,757 more families had big medical debts when they went bankrupt.

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Fueled by more comments from Vince Flammini, the babbling former bodyguard who last week recalled Gary Condit once telling him a woman Flammini believed was Chandra Levy had "breasts like melons," the case of the congressman's missing girlfriend totters along. Condit, who has been lying low in California, reportedly now thinks the coast is clear enough for him to run again. He's got the backing of House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, who on Sunday came to Condit's defense with a couple of weirdo comments on Meet the Press.

First, moderator Tim Russert quoted the missing intern's mother, Susan Levy, as having said she sees Condit "going on with his smiles and videotaped on the media going from his congressional meetings with his big political smile. And just the physical action does not match a person who says that they really want to help you out."

Gephardt: "Well, I know he's on TV a lot, and he may be smiling, but I can tell you that he is as worried and concerned as her parents are about where she is. He is very disturbed about this whole thing."

Russert: "Has he told you that he had no role in her disappearance?"

Gephardt: "He has not told me that. But he's told me he's very disturbed about the whole matter, and he hopes that the police can find the young woman."

Meanwhile, Billy Martin, the Levy family attorney, is hinting Chandra may have been pregnant. "Could she have been pregnant and could something have been done to her in an attempt to abort the pregnancy?" he said on Face the Nation. "Could that have been an issue between the congressman and Chandra? Because the answer to that may in some way affect the outcome of the investigation, I don't think I should answer that question."


Vidal Dissects a Broader McVeigh Plot
Now He Tells Us

Having skipped Tim McVeigh's showbiz execution at the Terre Haute prison, Vanity Fair's smart-set correspondent Gore Vidal used a speech at the Edinburgh Book Festival this month to say once more what a super fellow McVeigh was and how he reminds Vidal of Paul Revere.

Vidal thinks that by killing 168 people at the Murrah Federal Building, patriot McVeigh was warning us how "the secret police (i.e., the FBI) were out of control." According to the scribe, McVeigh was saying, "The Feds are coming, the Feds are coming!" Vidal went on to call McVeigh a "Kipling hero," with an "overdeveloped sense of justice."

Now Vidal says he's ready to tell all, like how McVeigh came to be part of a bombing plot masterminded by the federal government. "I am just about to drop another shoe in it," he said, claiming to have worked with a researcher who "knows at least five people involved in the making of the bomb and detonation of it. It may well be that McVeigh didn't do it. In fact, I am sure he didn't do it. But when he found out he was going to be the patsy, he did something psychologically very strange. He decided to grab all credit for it himself, because he had no fear of death."

Vidal revealed that this "John Brown of Kansas" ate a bowl of mint-chocolate chip ice cream in his last hours as he watched the Coen brothers' Fargo on a black-and-white TV. Said Vidal, "It's a great film but bloody—a body is shredded and suchlike—and not quite what he wanted to see, poor fellow."


Additional reporting: Sandra Bisin and Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson

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