American government

In Defense of Looseness
August 27, 2008

Richard Posner on why District of Columbia v. Heller, which invalidated the District's ban on the private ownership of pistols, is an appalling mistak

Angry White Man
January 30, 2008

If you are a critic of the Bush administration, chances are that, at some point over the past six months, Ron Paul has said something that appealed to you. Paul describes himself as a libertarian, but, since his presidential campaign took off earlier this year, the Republican congressman has attracted donations and plaudits from across the ideological spectrum.

Angry White Man
January 08, 2008

Kirchick: Ron Paul's bigoted past.

The Case for Fear
December 11, 2006

Overblown: How Politicians And The Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, And Why We Believe Them By John Mueller (Free Press, 259 pp., $25) What's Wrong With Terrorism? By Robert E. Goodin (Polity, 246 pp., $59.95) In 1995, the political scientist Aaron Wildavsky published a provocative book under the title But Is It True? Wildavsky's central claim was that many environmental risks are ridiculously exaggerated. In his view, governments often devote substantial resources to trivial or even nonexistent problems.

Our Incompetent Government
November 14, 2005

When something goes wrong, we look for someone to blame, in the hope that by finding and punishing a culpable individual we can prevent a repetition. Sometimes this is little better than scapegoating, which is my reaction to the search for someone to blame for the failure to detect the September 11 plot or to discover that Saddam Hussein had abandoned his weapons of mass destruction.

The Ungreat Washed
July 07, 2003

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad By Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton, 286 pp., $24.95) I. Midway through Fareed Zakaria’s attack on democracy, one realizes that his animus toward popular government is not only theoretical but also personal, and in some ways it is even quite understandable.

Against Innocence
March 03, 2003

Perceptions, perceptions. The great debate about the war in Iraq-- does anybody imagine that the United States has dispatched 180,000 troops to the Gulf not to send them into battle?--has dissolved into another debate about debates, another collision of perspectives, Washington, Paris, Berlin, New York, Brussels, Vilnius, Riyadh, the streets, the halls of power, as if there were no real threats that must be met, no conclusive answers that can be given to some of the urgent questions, and all that is needed now is a tolerance for other people's opinions.

Broken Trust
January 29, 2003

In its dollar magnitude, it's almost certainly the biggest case of financial mismanagement in U.S. history. While a final tally is years away, in part because of suspiciously lost or missing documents, there's good reason to think that the dollar figures will dwarf WorldCom's $9 billion. It's a scandal that crosses partisan lines and reaches into high levels of both the Clinton and the Bush administrations.

The Rescuer
October 28, 2002

A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust by David S. Wyman and Rafael Medoff (The New Press, 269 pp., $26.95) Twenty-five years ago, while researching Holocaust history for the Joint Distribution Committee in New York, and as I was preparing to immigrate to Israel, I came across a clipping from The New York Times from 1936.

Black Hawk Up
March 25, 2002

Thermobaric, thermoshmaric: The Battle of Shah-i-Kot Valley has established what should have been perfectly plain from the beginning of the American action in Central Asia, which is that victory—that is, the destruction of the forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban and the subsequent stabilization of Afghanistan—is not possible without the commitment of American ground troops. The momentous mistake of Tora Bora, where the climax of Operation Enduring Freedom turned into its anti-climax, as we gave control of the porous border with Pakistan to a bunch of lethargic and corruptible Afghan irregulars—

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