Justice for Hezbollah



The Obama administration is heralding a conference later this month in Geneva where representatives of Bashar al-Assad’s regime will ostensibly sit down with the Syrian rebel forces opposing them. The effect will be to prop up Assad. Sen. John McCain, on the other hand, is committed to the Syrian people. We commend him for the courage he showed last week when he became the most senior American official to visit Syria since the shooting started, entering from the Turkish border. Meeting with rebel leaders, McCain could hardly have been surprised to learn that the last thing they want is an intra-Syrian peace process with the ruling clique that slaughtered peaceful demonstrators for a year before the opposition finally picked up arms in its own defense. What the rebels want from the United States, Free Syrian Army general Salim Idriss told McCain, is what they’ve been requesting for a year—weapons and the grounding of Assad’s air force with a no-fly zone. Idriss added ...

W.H. Auden & William Shakespeare

A Low Dishonest Administration


We'’ll take the liberty of updating, for the summer of 2013, the famous lines from Auden’s “September 1, 1939”:

We sit in our office


Let the Sunshine In

It’s high time for the administration to release the bin Laden documents


President Obama’s victory lap

In a speech at the National Defense University on May 23, Barack Obama declared an end to the global war on terror. The threat posed by al Qaeda, its affiliates, and those it inspires can be managed, he said. “As we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11. .  .  . [I]f dealt with smartly and proportionally, these threats need not rise to the level that we saw on the eve of 9/11.”

The president described an al Qaeda so thoroughly enervated that the threat it poses no longer requires a sustained, global campaign dedicated to its elimination. “Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat,” he said. “Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us.” 

The shift in policy the president announced is risky even if he’s right about the ...

Dave Malan

The Big Chill

An Obama administration ‘blueprint’ targets free expression on campuses.


It's a well-known fact that on most college campuses, supposedly havens of academic freedom, you really have to watch what you say.

The vast majority of America’s universities, both public and private, have speech codes that regulate the utterances ...

Burned out cars after rioting in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby

How to Explain the Swedish Riots

The standard answers of the left are wrong.


On May 13, Swedish police shot and killed an elderly man armed with a knife in Husby, a heavily immigrant suburb of Stockholm with high unemployment. After that, riots raged around Stockholm for a week and spread to other parts of the ...

Elite troops of the Honduran Army patrol near the capital.

The Two Faces of Latin America

Colombia vs. Honduras.


If you want to see both the potential and the peril in Latin America, you could not do better than to visit Honduras and Colombia, as I did in mid-May: The former is Exhibit A for all that is wrong with the region, from drug trafficking and violence to governmental corruption; the ...

Rep. Bill Cassidy

Almost Committed

The House GOP inches toward mental-illness reform.


When his House subcommittee held the forum “After Newtown: A National Conversation on Violence and Severe Mental Illness” in March, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) received bipartisan praise for what was to be the first of three hearings on the topic. Murphy, chairman of the Energy and Commerce ...


Obama’s Asteroid

The decline of NASA and the senseless priorities of our government


Gary Locke

Recently I spent some time surrounded by people who are smarter than I am, who are braver and more committed to human progress, who know more about science and technology, more about business and industry, and more about budgets and expenditures.

This is an experience Congress and the White House should have. Except Congress and the White House have this experience every day. And me too, but at least I know when it’s happening.

It was happening with unusual intensity last month in Colorado Springs at the 29th National Space Symposium. This is the biggest and most important annual worldwide gathering of the biggest and most important organizations and entities in the biggest and most important industry in the solar system. The biggest, certainly, in terms of reach. What other enterprise has sent employees on a 238,900-mile business trip to the moon? And the most important industry in the solar system by ...

At the National Defense University, defining jihad down

See No Evil

President Obama may think that the threat from al Qaeda is receding. It isn’t.


During his speech at the National Defense University on May 23, President Obama sought to reassure Americans that they are “safer” because of the administration’s “efforts” to fight terrorism. The controversy over the administration’s handling of the September 11, 2012, terrorist ...

Equal Justice Under Law?

The Case Against Deference

Judges should be unafraid to review government actions


For at least half a century, judicial restraint has been the clarion call of the conservative legal movement. After the Warren Court era, Roe v. Wade, and very nearly a “right” to welfare benefits, it was not surprising that conservatives would seek to rein in ...

Books & Arts

The Opening Act

‘Sink or swim with Ngo Dinh Diem.’


Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, President Ngo Dinh Diem, Saigon, August 26, 1963

Fifty years ago this coming All Saints’ Day, the United States government concluded its patronage of Ngo Dinh Diem by dispatching him from the presidency of South Vietnam. His removal, in a U.S.-countenanced Vietnamese military coup, might have been less dramatic had President Diem not perished, with his brother and svengali Ngo Dinh Nhu, at the hands of junior Vietnamese officers entrusted with their safe exfiltration. But the coup’s consequences remained the same: a succession of keystone-kops military governments that finally settled on Nguyen van Thieu, who won elections and survived his own incompetence, and American impatience, even longer than Diem had.

The story of the coup against Diem was quickly obscured by the real and unmitigated pressures that had led to it—escalating U.S. alarm about the ability of South Vietnam to defeat the Communist ...


Infamous Creoles

Annals of the avant-garde in the Vieux Carré.


The great thing about this account of the artists and intellectuals in and around New Orleans’s French Quarter during the 1920s is that it upends nearly every assumption commonly made about the American South—even the true ones. The early-20th-century South may have ...

Herman Wouk in Times Square, 1962

Morningstar in America

An underrated novel gets some overdue attention.


Here’s a story of movie star vanity. In 1998, word appeared that Al Pacino had optioned the rights to Herman Wouk’s novel Marjorie Morningstar (1955). Sporadically over the next few years, reports came out linking the actor with various actresses who wished to play the ...

Marilynne Robinson

The Human Factor

The family of man seems to confuse its latest therapist.


Marilynne Robinson is afraid we are losing our “loyalty to democracy” in America, though her reasons for fearing this might (or might not) surprise you. Tribalism and austerity—a general lack of generosity—will kill America. Individuals are generous ...

Entering the Kingdom of Walt by car

Disney’s America

To understand ourselves, this is one place to start.


The Walt Disney World Resort, located outside of Orlando, has more than twice Manhattan’s land area and about the same number of hotel rooms as Philadelphia. It’s America’s largest single-site employer—over 60,000 people work there—and for ...


Ultra Life

From Israel, a transcendent vision of marriage.


The “state of grace” is not, to put it mildly, a Jewish idea; in fact, save for Christ’s divinity, it may be the least Jewish concept in all of Christianity. So it is a fascinating irony that the first movie written and directed by an ultra-Orthodox Jewish ...


No Pain, No Gain

Christopher Caldwell learns the Russian word for ‘pain’



An older Ukrainian guy walks his dogs in the woods near my house. We talk a lot. The other day I was complaining about tendonitis in my ankle, which was causing me pain. 

“Pain?” he said. “You call tendonitis ‘pain’?” 

“What would you call it?” I said.

“Better to say .  .  . ‘discomfort.’ ” 

However rich the English language, Americans make distinctions only of kind, never of degree. “Misfortune,” “disaster,” “catastrophe”—these words all mean the same thing to us. Any of them might be used to describe (a) dropping your toast on the buttered side or (b) the Bataan Death March. 

But my friend’s point was not that I was misusing adjectives. His point was that I was a whining sissy. I thought he was about to start lecturing me on the 22 million Soviet war ...


I Know Nothing

Michael Ramirez


Eric Holder’s Creeping Remorse

The Scrapbook, despite its reputation in some quarters, has a streak of sentimentality when it comes to certain subjects: Old Yeller, for example, or Lou Gehrig’s farewell address. And of course, cabinet members on the road to redemption.


Fair-weather Fans of the First Amendment

Veteran D.C. journalist Jonathan Alter is releasing his second book on the Obama administration this week—The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. The Scrapbook will be as content to ignore this publishing event as we were Alter’s 2010 volume, The Promise: President ...

Red Light Camera

Does the Road to Hell Have Red Light Cameras?

Longtime Weekly Standard contributor Steven Hayward, in an item at the Powerline blog, draws our attention to a report by the Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on “Red Light Camera Operational Systems.” As is typical with government ...


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