Reno's Showdown

The attorney general makes a risky personal move to end the standoff over Elian Gonzalez. But did she lose her nerve at the crucial moment?

Six-year-olds are natural charmers, eager to please, brave, playful and about as grounded as soap bubbles. Now that Elian Gonzalez has made parents of us all, it was especially gruesome to watch his fate float by last week, in real time and on video, as the adults in his life prepared to tear him in two.

On the one hand, the more familiar he becomes to us with each passing slide down that swing set, the harder it is to imagine waving him onto the plane bound for Havana. On the other, there was a nasty sense last week that what...

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