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It’s the disease that ravages respiratory systems, and hobbles economies. SARS, the mysterious virus that’s infected nearly 5000 people, so far, has cleared out airports, offices, and discos in China, and Toronto isn’t fairing much better.
Although the World Health Organization is hot on the case, don’t expect a cure or vaccine anytime soon. Despite advances in medical technology, health officials are still battling the last bug, and losing, so says one professor of medical history. Cancer and heart disease, let alone the 1918 influenza epidemic, still have experts searching for a diagnosis. Our faith in medicine is misplaced, he argues. Its role isn’t to conquer illness but make it more tolerable.
Gerald N. Grob, Professor of The History of Medicine Emeritus at Rutgers University, and author of “The Deadly Truth: A History of Disease in America.”
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Figuring Iran in the post-Saddam puzzle. Despite the ardent denials of the country’s political leaders, there is pretty solid evidence that Tehran has sent agents to help strengthen the hand of Shites fundamentalists in Iraq. The Bush Administration has been caught off guard by these moves. Officials were hoping Iran would keep up the good behavior it had displayed during the war with Afghanistan, when it stayed on the sidelines until invited in.
Now some are arguing for diplomacy, while others advocate playing military hardball as the way to stop the meddling intervention, and head off Iran’s efforts to build nuclear weapons. In Iran too, attitudes about the U.S. are divided. Reformers see opportunities for democracy in the post-Saddam era; while militants see a new Islamic state in the making.
Brenda Shaffer, Research Director for the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University
Geoffrey Kemp, Director of Regional Strategic Programs at the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom
Eli Lake, State Department correspondent for the United Press International
Owen Matthews, Newsweek Middle East correspondent.