‘Moral Health and Martial Vigour’



President Obama’s announcement that U.S. forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 should have been no surprise. As the Washington Post editorial page pointed out, “You can’t fault President Obama for inconsistency. After winning election in 2008, he reduced the U.S. military presence in Iraq to zero. After helping to topple Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi in 2011, he made sure no U.S. forces would remain. He has steadfastly stayed aloof, except rhetorically, from the conflict in Syria.”

The Post editors—who endorsed Barack Obama for election in 2008 and for reelection in 2012—went on to observe:

The Afghan decision would be understandable had Mr. Obama’s previous choices proved out. But what’s remarkable is that the results also have been consistent—consistently bad. Iraq has slid into something close to civil war, with al-Qaeda retaking ...

Obama West Point

Excuses Excuses


Since 2009, the world has been trying to make sense of America’s foreign and national security policies under Barack Obama. Allies and enemies, historians and scholars, the president’s critics and his supporters—all have struggled to define, or even discern, an Obama Doctrine. ...

VA Seal

The Real VA Problem


The Department of Veterans Affairs has admitted that 23 deaths are linked to “secret waiting lists” for health care and other malfeasance and mismanagement at the agency, though the actual total is probably significantly higher. So far, dozens of veterans have lost their lives. Not ...


Rewriting History

The real Hillary record on Iran sanctions


Gary Locke

Hillary Clinton will shortly release a memoir, Hard Choices, chronicling her tenure as secretary of state. If what she has to say in its pages resembles what she had to say from the stage at the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) annual Global Forum on May 14—where she claimed undue credit for implementing sanctions against Iran—it’s worth setting the record straight now.

In reality, the Obama administration, and Clinton’s State Department in particular, opposed, dragged their feet on, and sought to water down every piece of sanctions legislation introduced by bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate. With that history now being rewritten, let’s review the actual record.

President Obama took office believing that personal diplomacy without “preconditions” would convince Iran’s leaders to relinquish their nuclear ambitions. As Clinton later explained in an interview with CNN’s Candy ...

David Clark

Obamacare in the Blue States

The great coverup.


One of the ironies of the Affordable Care Act is that many of the governors who zealously supported the bill failed spectacularly in its implementation. Oregon, Maryland, and Minnesota are among the most prominent failures. The Massachusetts exchange, the primary inspiration for ...


‘The June 4th Incident’

Tiananmen Square and truth-telling.


In a March 28 speech at the Körber Foundation in Berlin, China’s president, Xi Jinping, called for historical truth-telling. He had in mind the Rape of Nanking, the massacre carried out by Imperial Japan’s forces in 1937-38 during their occupation of the then-capital of the Chinese ...

Stewart Mills III

The Range Race

The two parties battle it out in northern Minnesota.


One of the most fascinating congressional races in the nation this year is taking place in a practically unknown Minnesota district between two men who could not be more different—in style and in substance.


On the Origin of ‘Sharing’

It didn’t start with Facebook.


The practice of “sharing” is now so widespread and ingrained in our daily lives that it bids fair to become the distinguishing feature of our age, much as the use of stone tools once defined an earlier period of progressive enlightenment. As with other important ...


Jillary’s Wars

Identity politics devours its children



Call them Jillary: as in Jill Abramson plus Hillary Clinton, two women of an age, of a kind, and of a political genre, the reigning queens of modern identity politics, each rising high and becoming a model for generations of feminists who admired their guts and brashness and gall. And call him Pinch: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the Prince Charles of the house of New York Times, heir to the throne of one of the few modern-day institutions that still runs on the monarchical principle in which the first son of the reigning family is given great power (deserved or not), a backer of Hillary and employer of Jill—at least until May 14, when he tossed her under the bus and then backed up and ran over her, breaking the rules set for gender-relations and setting off rows in the gender-identity complex not seen in its annals before.

Was she fired for cause? Fired for being a woman in power. Or, as the Times had often insisted ...

Detail from a rendering of Union troops under fire during the battle

Slaughter at Cold Harbor

The fight that Grant regretted


The evening before the battle, a Union officer walked among troops who would be assaulting Confederate positions in the morning and observed something he had not seen before. As he wrote after the war, “I noticed that many of the soldiers had taken off their coats and seemed to be ...

Books & Arts

Dean of Contradictions

The savage, satiric, sympathetic Swift.


Ted Danson as Lemuel Gulliver (1996)

The art of biography, as it is practiced today, nearly always involves the biographer as mediator between past and present, a bridge over the ever-widening gap between the two. As history has more and more become the record of what we feel we ought to be ashamed of our ancestors for, the biography-worthy great men of centuries gone by require new champions to explain why they, at least, weren’t so bad as most of their benighted contemporaries. 

The biographical apologia, like the debunking, was already well-established 30 years ago, when Irvin Ehrenpreis completed his three-volume biography of Jonathan Swift after two decades of work. The vogue in the 1960s, when Ehrenpreis began his work, was for psychological, often Freudian, analysis of one’s subject, and the undoubtedly weird figure of the 18th-century dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and author of ...

Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

What Macy’s Wrought

Of computers and the convergence of minds.


In 1882, Louis Bamberger bought the stock of a bankrupt dry goods store and used it to open a store of his own in Newark, New Jersey. By 1928, it was one of the largest and most profitable businesses in the country: Bamberger’s department store had expanded from a ...


Scary Stuff

You think ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ is traumatic? Think again.


The New York Times recently ran a story about college students requesting “trigger warnings” to alert them that something in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or The Great Gatsby might freak them out. Such warnings would ...


The Greatest Ex

Herbert Hoover and his post-presidential triumph.


I was raised in a Hoover household. By the time I came along in 1944, Herbert Hoover had already begun to reclaim the respect of many Americans, despite the vilification he had suffered at the hands of the New Deal propaganda machine. As the Great Depression waned and America went ...


Verdict on ‘Doonesbury’

Dated, dull, and reliably predictable.


First, a confession. When I was a 9-year-old reader of comic strips, having recently set aside the (to my thinking) infantile pleasures of Blondie and Dennis the Menace, my eyes wandered to their considerably cooler cousin, Doonesbury. I wonder ...

twentieth century fox film corp.

One-Scene Wonder

The seventh installment of ‘X-Men’ poses a quandary.


Is a single standout scene in a movie worth a half-billion dollars? That is the question to be answered by the worldwide gross of this seventh film in a series that began back in 2000. 

X-Men: Days of Future Past is another in the endless series of ...


Fry, Fry Again

Terry Eastland, Southern fried chicken man


katherine messenger

I happen to like fried chicken. I like just about everything about it. I like being in the store and looking for the right chicken. I like cutting up the chicken, and then preparing the pieces for frying, and then frying them in the big pan we use for that purpose. And I like eating my portion. I can’t say I like disposing of the grease, a messy business, but then the meal I’ve just eaten has usually been worth it. 

The fried chicken I like best is deep-fried. It’s fried in a pan filled with oil of a high smoke point (peanut is good). The oil is about an inch-and-a-half deep, and the heat (325 degrees, though you need to watch it and make adjustments) is such that the pieces, while submerged in the oil, don’t touch the bottom of the pan but fry comfortably until the crust is brown and crispy. 

Pan-fried chicken—it uses less oil and the pieces touch the bottom—is okay. And I ...


After You

After You

Michael Gove

Syllabus of Errors

The Scrapbook keeps an eye on the British press—largely because it’s interesting, and sometimes fun, to read; but also because, now and then, a little nugget emerges which tells a larger story. 

Case in point was the explosion last week when ...


See No Evil

On May 23, a young man killed 6 people and wounded 13 others near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, before turning a gun on himself. But you probably knew that, because the incident was unavoidable in the news. Despite all of the national coverage, the ...


Instagram Envy

Perhaps you’re aware that a prominent athlete recently posed for an Instagram photo alongside an attractive woman who happened to be involved with another man. Her significant other got carried away with his emotions. Hounded by the green-eyed god jealousy, he acted foolishly and ...


Sentences We Didn’t Finish

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Maya Angelou, a true national treasure whom I have admired for many, many years. Dr. Angelou was much more than a literary genius, a chronicler of Jim Crow, and a witness to history. Through her extraordinary work, she captured the tenacity of ...


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