Demand the Documents



To paraphrase Lincoln, if we could first know where Iran is and whither Iran is tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. To evaluate the Iran deal, we need, to the degree possible, to understand the Iranian regime, its nature and its history, its past and present behavior. 

The bad news is that the Obama administration doesn’t want us to have all the information available to judge that regime and its behavior. The good news is that Congress can insist the information be provided.

Here’s an important instance. We have been told by six current or former intelligence officials that the collection of documents captured in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound includes explosive information on Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda over the past two decades, including details of Iran’s support for al Qaeda’s attacks on Americans. Some of these officials believe this information alone could derail ...


A Pro-Life Opportunity


In the wake of the undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the trafficking of aborted baby tissue and body parts, the U.S. Senate has scheduled a vote to defund Planned Parenthood. It’s a fine first step by Congress in response to the horror revealed by the ...


Fuel on the Fire


John Kerry is bullish on the Middle East. He believes that the Iran deal will make it possible for the White House and Tehran to tamp down wars in places like Syria and Yemen. And—who knows?—maybe even solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Since the deal ...

AP Photo / Bettmann Corbis

Blaming Israel First


In May, President Barack Obama donned a yarmulke and spoke in a Washington, D.C., synagogue. He reminded his audience that Jeffrey Goldberg, a member of the congregation, once called him the “first Jewish president.” He claimed to be flattered by the characterization. And perhaps ...


Down But Not Out

Christie’s formula: patience, confidence, more patience.


AP Jim Cole

Keene, N.H.
Shirley Paulson showed up to 50-cent wing night at Lab ’n Lager in downtown Keene not for a cheap dozen of the highly addictive garlic jalapeno wings but because she wanted a crack at New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

The 83-year-old Boston transplant raised four kids, outlasted three husbands, and spent 30 years making pitches to “businessmen a lot smarter than me,” as she sold radio ads in this gritty old manufacturing town. So, no, she wasn’t intimidated at the prospect of a confrontation with the sometimes-caustic presidential candidate.

During the two-hour town hall here on July 27, Christie fielded questions on topics ranging from the obvious (Obamacare, veterans’ affairs, illegal immigration, Iran) to the odd (whether he had, in fact, dozed off at a Bruce Springsteen concert last spring). Christie reported that he opposes Obamacare, ...

2012: the bad old days

Solution in Search of a Problem

Will the new debate format really affect the 2016 result?


No one quite knows what the first Republican debate will look like, who exactly will be onstage, or what it means that Donald Trump will be there, too. This, it seems, is the Republican National Committee’s solution to the debacle of the 2012 debates. The problems are memorable: ...

Nope—not gonna happen.

Why They Like Him

The Republicans’ principal-agent problem.


Donald Trump is not going to be the next nominee of the Republican party. The flamboyant businessman has made billions in real estate, but politics is another matter. He manifestly lacks the temperament to be president, and his conversion to the Republican party is of recent ...

We want to leave employers this much profit.

How to Shrink the Economy

Follow Hillary’s ‘growth’ prescription.


Hillary Clinton is a reflection. Whatever the left wing of the Democratic party embraces, she reflects. Not in toto, however. That would locate her too far to the left and jeopardize her quest for the presidency. She’s a partial reflection.

Yet her ...

Gary Locke

They Hate Your Guts

Democrats and their voters.


I would like to address myself to the poor, the huddled masses, the wretched refugees teeming to America’s shore, the homeless, the economically, socially, and mentally tempest-tossed. Also, I’d like to address the young, the hip, the progressive, the compassionate, and the caring. ...

Ted Cruz

Fixing the Court

Priority number one for the next president?


Ted Cruz, who in 1996 clerked for then-chief justice William Rehnquist and is now a first-term senator and GOP presidential candidate, has assumed the leadership of conservatives aiming to rein in a Supreme Court they fault for imposing on the country rights not found in the ...

A protest against the removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding  tube in Pinellas Park,

Dangerous Apathy

Barbarism in our time.


The country has been roiled in recent weeks by videos showing two Planned Parenthood executives chirpily telling pro-life undercover investigators that fetal organs could be had for a price. The executives—both themselves abortionists—explained that their techniques could be ...

And Friedrich begat Vladimir.


Russian propaganda in the age of postmodernism.


Traveling recently in what might be called “new frontline” states—Estonia, Ukraine, and Moldova—I was struck by the depth of concern I encountered about Russian propaganda. And not just propaganda aimed at the Russian population and neighboring countries. At a conference in ...


The Guns of August 1990

A quarter-century after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, we still haven’t learned the right lessons from that war



Just after midnight on August 2, 1990, an invasion force of approximately 100,000 Iraqi troops crossed into Kuwait. As mechanized and armored Republican Guard divisions breached the border and sped southward across the desert, Iraqi Special Forces commandos launched airborne and amphibious assaults into Kuwait City. The Kuwaiti military, outnumbered and taken by surprise by the well-coordinated offensive, was swiftly routed. By nightfall that first day, the country’s main bases and international airport were in Iraqi hands, as was the palace of the Kuwaiti emir, who narrowly escaped to Saudi Arabia. Within 48 hours, the occupation of Kuwait​—​proclaimed by Saddam Hussein to be Iraq’s long-lost 19th province​—​was largely complete.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of these events​—​the first major international crisis to confront the United States as the Cold War drew to a close, and one that culminated a few months later in ...

Gary Locke

Consistently Wrong

The president’s happy talk and sad results


President Obama is putting on the hard sell to market the nuclear deal he reached with Iran. On July 14, in announcing the agreement, he said: “This deal shows the real and meaningful change that American leadership and diplomacy can bring—change that makes our country and the ...

Books & Arts

Emancipation Strategy

The ushering-out of the Peculiar Institution.


‘Lincoln Writing the Proclamation of Freedom’ (1863) by David Gilmour Blythe

Leonard L. Richards, professor emeritus of history at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), has given us a compelling and multi-faceted account of how the antislavery movement achieved its definitive triumph in the form of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. 

Like any historical account, Who Freed the Slaves? presents interpretations that examine certain points of view at the expense of others. This is, of course, a problem inherent in historical studies. But to his credit, Richards has produced a very rich account—a veritable gold mine of information—that consists of many overlapping stories: stories of how the overall strategies of different kinds of slavery opponents developed; stories of how different individuals, groups, and key episodes played out as the violent struggle over slavery in America unfolded.

Fidel Castro, Juan Reinaldo Sánchez (ca. 1980)

Defender of Fidel

No dictator is a hero to his bodyguard.


Juan Reinaldo Sánchez was drafted into the Cuban Army in 1967 and assigned to the Department of Personal Security, the branch dedicated to protecting Fidel Castro. Starting at the lowest rung, where he was assigned to the blocks where Cuba’s ...

Vladimir Horowitz at Carnegie Hall (1965)

Fear Itself

The art of sharing the stage with dread.


Vladimir Horowitz and Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald and Laurence Olivier, Sarah Bernhardt and Luciano Pavarotti—these transcendent performers communicated a point of view, an inexpressible feel for life. And they did so despite their ...

T. S. Eliot (1920)

Poet in Embryo

Old Possum’s formative years.


Some years ago, while visiting T. S. Eliot’s native St. Louis, I took in a lecture on Eliot’s poem “Marina,” delivered by the Scottish poet and critic Robert Crawford. Most people will grant that T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) is a difficult poet, but after 20 ...

Daša Drndić

An Adriatic Dream

Metaphorical drama for the 20th century.


Daša Drndić, a Croatian, has gained respect in her country as a novelist, literary critic, and playwright. After teaching in Canada and completing a master’s degree in communications in the ...

Athena, an android in 'Tomorrowland'

Strange Bedfellows

Human-android love is a nonstarter. Period.


In the uplifting, if somewhat confusing, film Tomorrowland, George Clooney plays a brilliant scientist who suffers from a broken heart. Long ago and far way, he fell in love with a girl named Athena when they were children. Athena was smart and ...


A Vacation from Modern Parenting

David Skinner, father interrupted.


Skinner Family

I was in my office, happily encircled by little piles of paper, drafting an article, when real life interrupted. 

My wife Cynthia was on the phone. Our sons, she said, had ridden their bicycles—with permission—to the fancy overpriced coffee shop two blocks away to buy caramels. The shop was closed, they found. 

So our elder son, Ben, who is 9, decided to go to the 7-11, several blocks away and just beyond the border of what we consider acceptable society for young boys. This Ben did without permission. And without his little brother, Tommy, whom he left, alone, outside the closed coffee shop. 

Ben confessed after Cynthia noticed him eating one of those mass-produced snacks he could only have bought at 7-11. (The overpriced coffee shop sells caramels, artisanal chocolate, and a single yuppie-approved brand of potato chip.)


Mission Impossible



Selective Outrage

It’s too soon to tell whether the world will be able to recover from its grief, but we suppose civilization must go on, if for no other reason than to preserve the memory of the deceased. We speak, of course, of the tragic killing of Cecil the Lion—the ...

Planning the workers’ paradise, 1919

Rogues’ Gallery

A reader writes to ask about the photo we’ve been using in our subscription ads (see the back cover of this week’s edition, or last week’s, for that matter). Is it real, he wonders, or Photoshopped to show the three men together? “If it is an actual photo, it certainly is very ...

Chaka Fattah (né Arthur Davenport)

Can’t Buy You Immunity

Chaka Fattah (né Arthur Davenport), the Democratic congressman who represents part of Philadelphia and its environs, has never been challenged in a primary election. Since he joined the House in 1995, he has never garnered less than 86 percent of the vote in his impregnable ...


Rocket Science

Fresh off the triumph of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, there was more big space news this week. And it may turn out to be much bigger than our first look at Pluto—a veritable revolution in physics and space travel.

At the beginning ...


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