Assad Must Go


Photo of Syrian protesters demonstrating against Bashar al-Assad

The “realist” case for Bashar al-Assad—and before him, for his father, Hafez—was that he was supposedly a pillar of stability. The Assads, we were told, were all that stood between Syria and chaos. If that was ever true, it definitely is not true now. Assad’s heavy-handed attempt to repress a revolution is not cowing the protesters. Instead it is leading growing numbers of them to take up arms. Soldiers are defecting to the Free Syrian Army, which in recent days has reportedly attacked an intelligence headquarters outside of Damascus and a Baath party headquarters inside the capital.

Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, is descending into civil war with, in the ...

Photo of Paul Ryan giving a speech

Grand Old Reform Party


In 2010, Republicans won control of the House by offering to resist the Obama agenda. But their victory left open the question of whether they would ...

Photo of the U. S. Capitol

Cleaning Up Congress


When former New Hampshire senator Judd Gregg was being considered for Commerce secretary in early 2009, his investments came under scrutiny. ...


Abramoff and His New Pals

Rehabilitation, Washington style.


Cartoon of Abramoff dancing with donkeys

The rehabilitation of Jack Abramoff began on November 6, with a sympathetic 60 Minutes profile, and climaxed on November 15 with a book party thrown in his honor at the home of Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson. Abramoff is the former GOP lobbyist who spent three and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud, and tax evasion in 2006. He was released in June 2010. His reputation in tatters, his former millions consumed by legal fees, Abramoff has fallen back on what he knows best: running a scam.

This scam is not like the others. Abramoff is not overbilling and defrauding Indian ...

Photo of old Weekly Standard cover with Young Guns article

Not So Young Guns

The House GOP’s new establishment.


The three House Republicans who founded Young Guns—Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan—weren’t much of a force when they banded ...

Photo of Diederik Stapel

The Chump Effect

Reporters are credulous, studies show.


Lots of cultural writing these days, in books and magazines and newspapers, relies on the so-called Chump Effect. The Effect is defined by its discoverer, me, as the eagerness of laymen and journalists to swallow ...

Photo of young demonstrators in Madrid at night

Hasta Luego, Zapatero

The rout of the Spanish socialists.


Just as incoming American presidents are given the atomic “briefcase” by their predecessors, along with the codes for launching a nuclear attack, ...


The Xinjiang Procedure

Beijing’s ‘New Frontier’ is ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners.


Photo of Chinese Flag with surgical stitches in it

To figure out what is taking place today in a closed society such as northwest China, sometimes you have to go back a decade, sometimes more. 

One clue might be found on a hilltop near southern Guangzhou, on a partly cloudy autumn day in 1991. A small medical team and a young doctor starting a practice in internal medicine had driven up from Sun Yat-sen Medical University in a van modified for surgery. Pulling in on bulldozed earth, they found a small fleet of similar vehicles—clean, white, with smoked glass windows and prominent red crosses on the side. The police had ordered the medical team to stay inside for their safety. Indeed, the view from the side window of lines of ditches—some filled in, others freshly ...

Books & Arts

Sincerely, T. S. Eliot

New letters from Old Possum


Photo of T. S. Eliot sitting at a type-writer

In 1909 Henry James took thousands of letters that he had received over the years into his garden at Lamb House in Rye and committed them to a great bonfire. In his last years what time he could spare from refining his ever more rarefied fiction he devoted to confounding his biographers. Indeed, he instructed his nephew that since his “sole wish” was “to frustrate as utterly as possible the post-mortem exploiter,” he was insistent that his will include “a curse no less explicit than Shakepeare’s own on any such as try to move my bones.” T. S. Eliot also spent a good deal of time trying to thwart his biographers, stipulating in his will that no biography should be written until 50 years after his death. But as these two volumes of letters show, his epistolary candor was always at odds with his yearning for concealment, which now seems, in retrospect, to have been the unavailing protest of a ...

Cartoon of James Madison drawing blood from John Bull

Victory at Sea

The Navy comes of age in the War of 1812.


Towards the end of 1812 there’s a key passage. It contains a response by the Duke of Wellington to his prime minister’s suggestion that he ...

Photo of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, holding the King James Bible

The Good Book

How the King James Version came to be.


The King James Bible—the Authorized Version of Holy Scripture, dedicated to James I as “principal mover and author”—is not really a triumph of translation. Not, at least, if perfect accuracy and re-creation of the ...

Illustration of a New York saloon in 1853

On the House

Why Americans are at home in a bar.


There are many reasons why people go to bars: to find a date, cheer on a team, or simply to get stewed. But the best reason to be in bars is that you’re with friends. The best bars—free of televisions and background ...

Drawing of Jefferson Davis

Abe’s Angle

Lincoln as president and commander in chief.


Given the everlasting cascade of books about Abraham Lincoln, is anything at all left to be said? Perhaps. We sometimes overlook Lincoln’s pivotal ...

Photo of Sigmund Freud’s study in London

Pilgrims’ Progress

Literary shrines and the people who worship them.


The question asked in Simon Goldhill’s new book is why someone who enjoys an author’s books would want to examine the house where he wrote them. The ...

Photo of Gordon S. Wood sitting next to Sandra Day O’Connor in 2011

What Makes America?

A historian’s lifetime in search of an answer.


Few historians write about the long era of the American Revolution with greater authority than the author of the essays collected in this volume. One of the best-read scholars of his generation, for over roughly half a ...

Screen shot of actor Ian Carmichael playing the character of Lord Peter Wimsey

Back on the Job

Familiar faces, contemporary cases.


Rex Stout, asked his opinion of writers who take over a deceased colleague’s fictional characters, compared them to vampires and cannibals and said they should “roll their own.” But that didn’t stop Robert Goldsborough ...

Photo of Rosamond Bernier in 1998

Miró on the Wall

The art of performance in 20th-century art.


"I cannot remember a time,” Rosamond Bernier announces early in this memoir, “when I didn’t know Leopold Stokowski.”


1968 and All That

Philip Terzian, primary critic



My alluring wife accuses me of harboring a “weird aversion” to the televised debates that seem to be the sum and substance of the Republican campaign for the presidency. I plead guilty to the charge. And “weird” may well be the right word, for although our modern political myth-ology is now populated with memorable debate moments—“there you go again .  .  . my daughter Amy .  .  . fuzzy math”—I seem to be a party of one in disdaining the form and believing it does more harm than good. 

Since 1976, when the practice was revived after a 16-year lapse, my argument has been that ours is not a parliamentary system, and that the ability to answer snarky ...


Gallantry in Action

Photo of Weekly Standard cover from November 14th

A reader points out that the -Marine featured in our cover photo three weeks ago is Captain Timothy R. Sparks, who was recently honored with a Silver Star for his actions during the Battle for Marjah in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Sparks received the medal in a September 28 ceremony at Camp Lejeune. 

The official citation reads as follows:

“The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Timothy R. ...


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