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The World and Everything in It: April 1, 2024


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: April 1, 2024

On Legal Docket, Supreme Court justices consider the standing of doctors who sued over the easy access to the abortion pill; on the Monday Moneybeat, the ethics of crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried; and on the World History Book, the beginning of NATO. Plus, the Monday morning news

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Douglas Rissing/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. My name is Bonnie Sprecher. I live on Cass Lake in Minnesota and my daughter Rachel introduced me to The World and Everything in It. So I thank her for that and I hope the rest of you enjoy today's program.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Pro-life doctors who object to abortion take the FDA to court over its handling of an abortion drug.

FRANCIS: And now we are being forced by this governmental agency to participate in completing a process that the abortion providers should be completing. Not us.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also today, the Monday Moneybeat: the sentencing of a convicted crypto-swindler. And the WORLD History Book: today the 75th anniversary of NATO.

TRUMAN: If there is anything certain today, if there is anything inevitable in the future, it is the will of the people of the world for freedom and for peace.

REICHARD: It’s Monday, April 1st! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Time now for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Israel-Hamas Rafah / bombs to Israel » The United States is sending billions of dollars worth of bombs and fighter jets to Israel despite diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

The Biden administration has signed off on the transfer of those weapons.

That’s led to some disagreement within the Democratic party.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen:

VAN HOLLEN: Until the Netanyahu government allows more assistance into Gaza to help people who are literally starving to death, we should not be sending more bombs.

Israel says it is not restricting aid into Gaza.

And Democratic Congressman James Clyburn told NBC’s Meet the Press that the United States is simply honoring agreements made well in advance of the transfer.

CLYBURN: We cannot go back on our word and expect for other people to keep theirs. So we have to keep our word.

The transfer of weapons comes ahead of Israel’s planned ground operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which the White House opposes.

Bridge removal begins » In Baltimore, crews are now removing shattered concrete and twisted steel from the Patapsco River after last week’s collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: 

BUTTIGIEG: This is going to be a very complex process. There are, even now, forces acting on that steel. So it takes a lot to make sure that it can be dismantled safely, to make sure that the vessel stays where it is supposed to be and doesn’t swing out into the channel.

The “vessel” he’s referring to there is the cargo ship that lost power and slammed into a bridge support, triggering the collapse.

Cranes swung into place over the weekend … as workers measured and cut the steel to prepare to lift sections out of the water.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said Sunday:

MOORE: This is not just impacting Maryland. This is impacting the farmer in Kentucky. It’s impacting the auto dealer in Ohio. It’s impacting the restaurant in Louisiana. It’s impacting the entire country.

That’s because the wreck has cut off access to the Port of Baltimore, a critical trade hub in the United States. Clearing access to the port will take months while rebuilding the bridge is expected to take several years.

Speaker Johnson on push to oust him » House Speaker Mike Johnson’s job is under threat as a new aid package for Ukraine remains in limbo.

The speaker could bring it to the floor for a vote over the objections of some House Republicans. That could further motivate a group led by Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene to file a motion to vacate the speakership once the House returns from recess next week.

TURNER: Yeah, unfortunately, the chaos caucus has continued to want to stop everything that occurs in Congress. It’s not as if they have an alternative plan. They’re just against those things that are necessary.

But some other Republicans charge that Johnson hasn’t shown the courage to make difficult choices, is maintaining the status quo, and has been ineffective as speaker.

New $20/hr. for California fast food workers » A new law is set to take effect in California today that will mandate a minimum wage or at least $20 per hour for most fast food workers.

Michael Reich is chairman of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, University of California-Berkeley. He says employers have had it very good.

REICH: Profits are fine in the industry. And so there’s also room for them to absorb the wage increases.

Many fast food workers in the state say they’re happy about the change. But others are seeing their hours cut.

Alex Johnson is Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s franchise owner. He said he wants to pay his employees as well as he can.

JOHNSON: But this bill, AB-1228, has really hit our operations hard. We’re no longer hiring. We’re not backfilling positions. We’re not growing in the state anymore. We’re not expanding locations.

He said he’s ultimately thinking about selling or closing his business.

White House celebrates Trans holiday on Easter » On Easter Sunday, the Biden administration celebrated the national Transgender Day of Visibility.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken called it a “celebration of the courage and resilience of transgender, nonbinary and gender non-confirming persons.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee remarked: 

HUCKABEE: It would be the equivalent of Joe Biden on Ramadan saying, “Okay, we’re going to also declare this ‘eat more pork and bacon day.’” Now, how would that go over? It’s absurd.

Biden issued an official White House proclamation recognizing the Trans Day of Visibility in 2021.

HUCKABEE: You know, we need to help people who are confused. We need to feel for them. But we don’t need to somehow completely surrender to this nonsense and pretend that it’s normal.

The administration’s transgender celebration comes after the White House banned religious themes from the White House Easter Egg Art contest.

Southern Africa drought » In southern Africa, a severe drought has escalated into a critical hunger crisis, affecting millions.

The U.N. World Food Program Zimbabwe director Francesca Erdelmann:

ERDELMANN: I just spoke with some of the elders from the community and the last time they can remember this type of drought is 1947. So this is not a normal circumstance.

Zambia and Malawi have already declared national disasters and Zimbabwe could be about to do the same.

Almost 3 million people in rural Zimbabwe are threatened by hunger, a situation that was made worse by the driest February ever recorded.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: the FDA’s approval for an abortion drug on Legal Docket. Plus, the Monday Moneybeat.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s The World and Everything in It for this 1st day of April 2024. We’re so glad you’ve joined us today! Good morning! I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

You’ve no doubt heard about the big case argued last week on the abortion pill Mifepristone, the case titled Food and Drug Administration versus Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.

The court gave about 90 minutes to it but the argument never really got to the merits. Instead, it was mainly about whether the Alliance has legal standing to bring the case in the first place. If not, nothing else matters. At least where this one case is concerned.

All this is separate from the larger issue of what party would ever have standing to challenge the FDA over one of its highly consequential decisions.

EICHER: We’ll get to the meaning of standing in a minute.

But let’s begin with a review of the facts.

It was the final year of the Bill Clinton administration, the year 2000, and the Food and Drug Administration had approved the drug Mifepristone as effective at killing children 30-plus weeks before they’re born.

The FDA did place many precautions around its use at that time, mainly for the safety of the aborting mother.

But the agency removed those precautions over the last few years. The FDA expanded use of the drug from 7 weeks of pregnancy to 10. It allowed nonphysicians to prescribe it. And it did away with follow-up visits.

REICHARD: Then in 2021, the FDA removed the requirement for an initial, in-person visit with a doctor. That visit is the one in which a woman is screened for life-threatening conditions like ectopic pregnancy, and it’s the time that her unborn child is assessed for gestational age.

That last part is especially important, because the more developed the unborn child, the riskier chemical abortion is for the woman.

But with these relaxed standards women can receive mifepristone in the mail or pick it up at a pharmacy without ever visiting a doctor.

EICHER: More availability, of course, means more use, and more use statistically means more women having complications. So when they wind up in the hospital, it falls on emergency-room staff to manage the caseload. And many of those medical attendants and doctors have conscience objections to abortion.

One of them is Dr. Christina Francis, a board certified OB GYN and CEO of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

REICHARD: So I called her up because her group is part of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a named party in this lawsuit. The Alliance has 30,000 members from the medical profession.

Dr. Francis was in the courtroom listening to the oral arguments.

CHRISTINA FRANCIS: … trying to get the justices to understand the position that, you know, that we are in this emergency situation where we cannot excuse ourselves because we have an obligation. We took an oath to care for patients, regardless of their circumstances and and to promote health and to promote life. And now we are being forced by this governmental agency to participate in completing a process that the abortion providers should be completing. Not us. That's why I feel very strongly that we have standing for this case.

So now to the legal question of standing.

To help explain that, I also called up Brad Jacob. He’s associate dean and professor at Regent University School of Law. He also served as a judge in moot court sessions to help prepare the doctors’ lawyer for oral argument.

BRAD JACOB: Standing goes back to Article Three of the Constitution, which says that federal courts can only hear a case or controversy, and part of that is the doctrine of standing. And standing says the plaintiff in the case has to have suffered a real personal injury, something that’s specific to that person or corporation or entity or whatever it is that’s bringing the lawsuit. But it can't just be everybody's harmed, that doesn't give you standing.

EICHER: So, to have legal standing means first that you have a specific legal injury. Second, that you can trace the cause of that injury to the party you’ve sued. And a third thing: remediability. That means the court can remediate, or provide a remedy to right the wrong.

For Dr. Francis, it’s clear to her that she has at least the first two elements of standing: an injury to herself, and a cause she can point to:

FRANCIS: The FDA said women can just go to the emergency room. Those doctors will complete the abortion. And so the FDA has set us up to have to do this thing that we have a moral opposition to …

REICHARD: Moral opposition aside, the justices looked for that third element of the standing equation: a remedy.

Here’s Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the government lawyer defending the FDA’s actions. When you hear Justice Jackson use the term “Respondent” she’s referring to the pro-life doctors.

JUSTICE JACKSON: So I'm worried that there is a significant mismatch in this case between the claimed injury and the remedy that's being sought and that that might or should matter for standing purposes. … the injuries that the Respondents allege…are conscience injury, that they are being forced to participate in a medical procedure that they object to. And so the obvious common-sense remedy would be to provide them with an exemption, that they don't have to participate in this procedure. And you say… federal law already gives them that. So I guess then what they're asking for in this lawsuit is -- is more than that. They're saying, because we object to having to be forced to participate in this procedure, we're seeking an order preventing anyone from having access to these drugs at all.

Argument then turned toward how many women actually end up in the ER, such that mifepristone ought to be more restricted.

Listen to Chief Justice John Roberts address the lawyer for the company that makes the drug.

In this exchange, the first voice you’ll hear is the chief and the second is attorney Jessica Ellsworth who will cite the so-called Clapper precedent on the issue of standing.

JUSTICE ROBERTS: I mean, what percentage of adverse consequences would be enough? What percentage of emergency room visits would be enough?

ELLSWORTH: I think the way Clapper got at that question is to really think about whether there is an attenuated chain of contingencies that have to happen. And in situations where there is this kind of attenuated chain of circumstances involving third party decisions that have to play out in a particular way, and here, that chain is quite long, that squarely puts plaintiff’s theory on the side of the conjectural or hypothetical and not the certainly impended injury.

EICHER: To Dr. Francis, there’s nothing conjectural or hypothetical about her own experience, and the numbers from the Guttmacher Institute back her up. That’s a pro-abortion research group:

FRANCIS: …that was one of the most frustrating things for me to hear. All you have to do is look at the FDA’s own words. So the FDA says that one in 25 women who take these high risk drugs will end up going to the emergency room. One in 25. So Guttmacher just released abortion numbers for 2023. As you know, unfortunately, the number of abortions went up in 2023. And the proportion of those that were done via these drugs went up to 63%. So that equates to roughly 650,000 chemical abortions done in the U.S. in 2023. If you take one in 25 of those that means over 25,000 women would have been expected to have gone to the emergency room last year alone because of these drugs. That is not an inconsequential number.

… further placing a burden upon emergency rooms, and medical workers who have to complete abortions, in violation of their consciences.

But what does it mean to be burdened in that way? Again, Dr. Francis:

FRANCIS: If their abortion is not completed, that means they're coming in heavily bleeding, hemorrhaging with life threatening infections, and, and not to get too graphic. But again, I think people need to understand what this means. They're coming in with parts of their babies left inside of them, parts of their placenta is left inside of them. And we, those of us in the hospitals, are having to go to the emergency room and complete the induced abortion, because the woman in front of us is unstable, also grieving us significantly that we’re seeing more and more women who have not been adequately counseled being harmed and damaged by these drugs.

Later on, Justice Jackson questioned how harm to women harms doctors and how the FDA’s approval of mifepristone without safeguards harms them as well.

Here’s an exchange between Justice Jackson and Erin Hawley, lawyer for the doctors. Hawley had argued both a narrow, specific harm, that is, taking the life of the unborn, and a harm that is more broad:

JUSTICE JACKSON: Okay. So what's the broader one?

HAWLEY: So the broader one, Your Honor, is being complicit in the process that unnecessarily leave (sic) uh, takes an unborn life such as performing a D&C and abortion. And it’s really not that hard to see.

JACKSON: No, wait, I’m sorry. Complicit like I work in the ER and this is going on? I’m handing them a water bottle? I’m like, what do you mean “complicit in the process?”

HAWLEY: So this court of course takes religious beliefs and conscience beliefs as it finds them…

REICHARD: Hawley going on to say it’s still a conscience violation to have to complete an abortion—regardless of whether the drug worked and killed the child. That’s complicity in a morally repugnant procedure.

Justice Samuel Alito questioned the motives of mifepristone’s maker, Danco Laboratories. If the restrictions on the drug that are now on hold are lifted, what’s in it for Danco? Listen to this exchange with Ellsworth:

JUSTICE ALITO: So you're going to make more money?

ELLSWORTH: The -- the injury is that we are prevented from selling our product in line with FDA's scientific judgment about the safe and efficacious use of the drug.

ALITO: And you're going to be harmed because you're going to sell more?

ELLSWORTH: I think that certainly a company's ability to market its product is a part of how it considers the regulatory scheme that governs its conduct.

ALITO: During the questioning of the Solicitor General, the statement was made that no court has ever previously second-guessed the FDA's judgment about access to a -- to a drug, right? It's never second-guessed that?

ELLSWORTH: That -- that's correct.

ALITO: Do you think the FDA is infallible?

ELLSWORTH: No, Your Honor, we don't think that at all. And we don't think that question is really teed up in any way in this case.

EICHER: Teed up or not, reining in federal agencies is definitely on the court’s radar this term. And not having anyone to sue when the FDA runs afoul of agency procedures seemed to bother some of the justices. And it’s likely the FDA did not rightly follow the Administrative Procedure Act.

Yet Justice Neil Gorsuch raised what seemed to be the view of at least five, maybe more, of the court:

JUSTICE GORSHUCH: We have before us a handful of individuals who have asserted a conscience objection. … And this case seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on on an FDA rule or any other federal government action. Thoughts?

HAWLEY: Yes, Your Honor. Again, I have to say that I think it's impracticable to -- to raise a conscience objection.

REICHARD: Because, as Dr. Francis explained, emergency rooms are full of, well, emergencies. And finding substitute doctors who don’t object to abortion isn’t always an option. So even though federal law provides for conscience protections for medical workers, it isn’t always practically possible.

Listening to the arguments, I came back to an inconvenient fact of the law: the need to establish standing. And if the high court doesn’t find standing in this case?

Well, here’s professor Brad Jacob:

BRAD JACOB: Of course, we’d like to say unborn children are harmed, but they’re not going to get standing. And the women who use the drug are using it voluntarily so there’s an assumption of risk. They chose to do it. Nobody made them use the drug. And so this may be a tricky case. If the doctors don’t have standing, I’m not sure who does. You either have to find a different plaintiff who has standing, or you’re just out of luck. There are times that the government does something wrong and there’s just nobody who can challenge it …

… which is at the core of other cases on the docket this term, getting at long-standing deference to unelected administrative agencies and the possibility that the court may fix that by promoting political accountability.

Because if you can’t hold the government accountable in court you need to be able to do so at the ballot box. The only other option is too terrible to contemplate.

That’s this week’s Legal Docket!

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Time now to talk business markets and the economy with financial analyst and advisor, David Bahnsen. David is head of the wealth management firm, the Bahnsen Group and he is here now. David, good morning.

DAVID BAHNSEN: Good morning, Nick. Good to be with you.

EICHER: Well, David, let's talk about the sentencing last week of the crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. He swindled billions of dollars from his crypto clients. The judge wound up giving him a sentence of 25 years, reasoning that he really was a danger to defraud again. How would you describe in short, the crime he committed? And do you think the sentence was fair?

BAHNSEN: Yeah, actually a lot of white collar crimes that are often complex, this one's really pretty simple. Customers had money in their account, and he took it and moved it to his own use, and his own use included wild amounts of spending, giving away money to big huge political and charitable causes as a means of trying to whitewash his crimes.

But the audacity was the sheer size of what he was just simply taking was $8 billion. Most people that have been convicted over the years of taking money out of somebody else's account, were not so audacious as to do it at the level of $8 billion. He believed he'd get away with it because he believed he would use it temporarily to prop up various leveraged crypto buys in his own hedge fund, Alameda. And of course, when the trading and the leverage and all the shenanigans of this big scam and fraud got away from them, the money wasn't there to return.

Twenty-five years, I don't have a strong opinion, because there's sentencing guidelines that apply. But I was appalled, Nick, I mean, appalled at the letter his mother, who is a now retired law professor at Stanford, wrote the judge about the sentencing, saying that he had no risk of doing it again, and that it was wrong for someone like him to go to prison, because the prison is where people go to have their humanity taken and that he deserved a better life than that. And essentially, I think this speaks to the bankruptcy of morality that is not rooted to a biblical worldview.

This entire upbringing of this young man taught him that there was no real ethic, there was no real foundation for morality, that because he was so smart and had good intentions, allegedly good intentions, that anything goes. And this is the kind of moral relativism and I think, incoherent worldview we get, when we are divorced from biblical law. There's been a lot of criminality and corporate fraud lately rooted to some humanistic idea of humanity. And it would be nice if some of these people that supposedly care about humanity started by caring about a human being.

EICHER: So this wasn't fundamentally about crypto, then?

BAHNSEN: Well, I actually think it was, in this sense, that so much of what was happening in crypto pricing in 2022 was because there were so many leveraged players. You had a ton of people buying it with money that didn't exist. And so that was partially what was required to keep this Ponzi thing going. And a lot of the value was related to a token, this digital token that obviously has no real value, but it was connected to what the value of FTX is, his company. But the FTX was related to what the value of the token was. So it spoke to kind of the circularity of this business model, which in a criminal context we refer to as a pyramid scheme, but in this world continues to have some degree of cultural currency. So we'll let all that play out, but I think you're right, it wasn't directly and only about crypto, but it was certainly an adjacent part of this story.

EICHER: Well, David, let's talk about inflation data we received last week. Last Friday, we got the February numbers for the personal consumption expenditures. And this PCE is said to be the preferred inflation indicator for the Federal Reserve. So a rather important gauge. How did you see the report?

BAHNSEN: Well, it's interesting that came out on a Friday in which banks and the bond market and the stock market were all closed. And so you didn't get chance to see any kind of market pricing. But the news itself was really pretty much in line. That itself has become news because there's people looking to see if the inflation data is worse than expected, and when it comes in in line that could become priced into bond market expectations in a positive way. It was actually slightly better month over month. They were expecting 0.4% and it ended up being 0.3%. But year over year, the core rate came in at 2.5%, which is getting very close to the Feds target. It's worth noting that the PCE has a lower weighting of shelter than the CPI, the consumer price index does. So we'll see what the CPI for the month of March indicates when that comes out in another week or two. But all things being equal, I think the Fed has to be reasonably happy with what the report was on Friday.

EICHER: All right, well, let's make this our defining terms for the week, David, this kind of alphabet soup of competing government inflation reports. We have the PCE, we have the CPI. What do they measure? And what's the difference? And why does it matter?

BAHNSEN: Yeah, well, let's start with just who releases each index, okay? The consumer price index, the CPI, which is probably better known in the minds of consumers and voters, is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So the BLS that puts out jobs reports is putting out the CPI, which is basically meant to reflect spending and what prices are doing. The personal consumption expenditures is put out by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the BEA, and so they're just two different government bureaus. But functionally, the difference is the way in which they're measuring prices.

So for me to answer the question honestly, for world leaders, I have to first start with one of the most important economic beliefs I have: there is no such thing as an aggregate price level. Both are trying to measure something that doesn't exist, or if it did exist is worthless, what it because it changes second by second, what the total price level is throughout an entire economy, with trillions upon trillions of transactions going on, many of which are going on in microseconds all the time, is impossible.

So it's an attempt to favorably judge a fallible indicator of what prices are doing. And they each make their own effort, Nick, to do this based on weighting what they think people spend money on. So if people spend 10% of their money on food, they want food to be 10% of the index, things like that. And so the CPI has 34%, it's at now actually, up to 35% of its weighting on what they believe people are spending for rent or a monthly house payment. The PCE has that down closer to 23 or 24%.

So there's differences in the methodology. The Federal Reserve has long believed the PCE to be a better measurement than CPI. Both have different times in which they seem to be closer to reality, and both do a core and the headline version. The headline version in both includes food and energy, and the core excludes food and energy under the accurate belief that those prices tend to be more volatile and move around based on other circumstances that are supply oriented—in oil's case, especially, geopolitical food can be very impacted by weather, shipping, things like that.

Of course, all prices can be affected by extrinsic things like that, but a core and a headline just gives us an extra data point. Those are the basic definitions of the major price measurement systems. We have PCE and CPI.

EICHER: All right, David Bahnsen is founder, managing partner, and chief investment officer of the Bahnsen Group. David's latest book is Full Time: Work and the Meaning of Life, and you can find out more about it at fulltimebook.com. Well, David, I trust your Easter Sunday was a meaningful one. Our savior is risen!

BAHNSEN: Amen, he is risen.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday April 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming up next, the WORLD History Book. Today, the spark that begins the genocide in Rwanda. And, a religious fanatic transforms Iran. But first, 75 years ago this week, a post-World War II military alliance. Here’s WORLD Executive Producer Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER: We begin today in Washington D.C. on April 4th, 1949. American President Harry Truman addresses heads of state from Canada and 10 European nations.

TRUMAN: We've seen brave men overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable and forces that seem overwhelming. Men with courage and vision can still determine their own destiny…

After the fall of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, Europe and the United States soon faced a new threat, the Soviet Union. The Russians had no intention of giving up control of territory they’d occupied in Eastern Europe, and instead were working to expand soviet influence. Western nations decided they needed a collective defense agreement.

TRUMAN: If there is anything certain today, if there is anything inevitable in the future, it is the will of the people of the world for freedom and for peace.

The “Washington Treaty,” contained 14 articles, laying out commitments to, among other things, seek peaceful resolution to disputes, “encourage economic collaboration,” and invest in shared military defense. Most significant was Article 5 guaranteeing that if one member of the alliance was attacked, the others would treat it as an attack upon all, and would come to their aid.

SPEAKER: We will now proceed to the signing of the North Atlantic treaty.

The alliance, later called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—or NATO— brought the military might of the United States to bear in Europe to protect small nations like Denmark and Luxembourg from the Soviet Union. And for the remainder of the Cold War, the alliance avoided armed conflict with Russia.

When Article 5 was invoked for the first—and so far only—time, it wasn’t a nation in Europe that was under attack.

GEORGE BUSH: Today our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack...

After Middle Eastern terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson addressed reporters on September 12th, 2001:

ROBERTSON: …if it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad against the United States, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty…

NATO countries helped the U.S. carry out airstrikes in Afghanistan during the War on Terror. Since then, the original organization of 12 has now more than doubled. Last month, Sweden joined as the 32nd member.

Next, fifty years ago today, Muslim cleric and politician Ayatollah Khomeini calls for an Islamic Republic in Iran. He makes the comments while in exile in Iraq. He’s there due to his strong opposition to the Iranian monarchy. Khomeini is appalled by the Shah’s lavish lifestyle. And when the Shah begins to promote further freedoms for women and non-muslims in government—Khomeini denounces the ruler…

From Iraq the spiritual leader grows in notoriety by sending regular messages into Iran by mass duplicated cassette tapes. He rails against the Shah, against Israel, and against the United States. His religious revolutionary ideals take root.


He preaches that the laws of society must conform to Sharia law—the laws of God. He insists they are sufficient to establish norms for every aspect of human life.


Five years later, Khomeini’s call for a society based on Sharia law becomes a reality and the Khomeini returns to Iran as its supreme ruler. He oversees the complete transformation of the nation into a Sharia state. His student and successor, Ali Khameeni, has ruled Iran since 1989.

We end today with April 6th, 1994. A plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi is shot down by unknown assailants using surface-to-air missiles.

The attack launches a genocide in the Central African nation of Rwanda where as many as 800,000 Tutsi and Twa minorities are brutally killed.

The conflict began more than a century earlier, when Germany took control of the country and ruled through the Tutsi monarchy. When Belgium took over the country after World War I, it kept the minority Tutsi ruling class in power, and introduced ethnicity based ID cards—treating non-Tutsis, the Hutus, as inferior.

In the late 1950s, ethnic conflict came to a breaking point as the Hutu majority began an armed resistance—eventually overthrowing the Tutsi monarchy in 1961. The new Hutu government forced as many as 300,000 Tutsis out of the country—and into exile.

For nearly 30 years, the Hutus controlled Rwanda. But by the early 90s Tutsi refugees outside the country had formed an army—calling themselves the Rwandan Patriotic Front, or RPF. They decided it was time to take Rwanda back. A civil war raged for nearly three years without a clear victor. Audio here from a 1994 South African Broadcasting Company special report.

AUDIO: We finally met the advancing rebel force at Akanyaru River in southern Rwanda…

Moderate Hutus—including the president of Rwanda—brokered a tentative peace deal with the Tutsis…calling for a government with Tutsi representation. When the president was killed in the missile attack, it was the spark militant Hutus were looking for. They called off the peace talks and blamed the RPF for the attack.

Hutu government and military officials had been arming civilians for months with machetes—saying it was in case they needed to defend themselves from the attacking RPF Tutsi army. Now those officials called upon civilians to use the weapons to start killing any Tutsi living in the country. Even those neighbors who had lived peacefully within the villages for decades.

AUDIO: So did many people die in this area? Indeed they did.

For more than three months, the world watched as hundreds of thousands of Tutsi were exterminated. In the chaos, the Rwandan Patriotic Front began fighting the weakened Hutu government forces. This time the RPF emerged victorious in the civil war and took over the government…effectively bringing the genocide of Tutsis to an end…

AUDIO: A flood of refugees…every day, thousands upon thousands people…arrive…trying to escape the war.

The resolution of the Rwandan Genocide 30 years later has been mixed. Many Tutsi converted to Islam as the Catholic church and the Christianized west were seen as complicit in the attacks. On the other hand, there have also been widely publicized accounts of forgiveness that have led many in the country to embrace reconciliation. Audio here from a 2009 interview on CBS:

AUDIO: It is possible to forgive. I have gone through that. It is possible.

That’s this week’s WORLD History Book with reporting assistance from Harrison Watters. I’m Paul Butler.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Next steps in the appeal of the fraud judgment against former President Trump. And, WORLD’s Classic Book of the month … a fairy tale titled, The Princess and the Goblin. That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Psalmist writes: “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. —Psalm 85:8-9

Go now in grace and peace.

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