War at Home
March 19, 2007
Of all the depressing ways that the war in Vietnam has been replayed in Iraq—the failed architect of the war being promoted to World Bank chief, the failed ground commander being promoted to Army chief of staff, congressional Democrats reverting to Vietnam-type, the whole rotten litany—nothing can top the belated dispatch to Iraq of David Petraeus, a general who actually knows what he's doing.
The Wrong Surge
February 19, 2007
Ramadi, Iraq—It’s the second week of December, yet apart from a palm tree strung with Christmas lights outside the headquarters of the First Armored Division’s First Brigade Combat Team (1-1 AD), Ramadi shows no trace of the season. But, at the nearby house of Sheik Abdul Sattar, nothing can interrupt the festive spirit— or the sheik. Waving a lit cigarette, the former Al Qaeda ally has been advertising his fealty to the American cause for nearly an hour now.
January 22, 2007
The Good German (Warner Bros.) A war correspondent for The New Republic, in the Berlin of July 1945, gets beaten up four times in pursuit of a story but nonetheless keeps going. That is one way The Good German could be described.
Washington Diarist: The Troops and Us
November 27, 2006
Last month, at a grubby Italian restaurant near a military base in North Carolina, I had dinner with a senior Army officer I had met in Iraq. We drank, talked about the war, and, on the television above the bar, we watched the fall of Washington. The dueling commentators on the TV screen were saying that theupcoming elections would doom the U.S. enterprise in Iraq. They were sure of themselves: This was unquestionably a Tet moment. Or was it Waterloo?
October 16, 2006
"Olmert, we forgive you," read an unsigned pre-Yom Kippur ad, placed in the newspaper Maariv by the amorphous movement to oust Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "We forgive you for the first defeat in war since the founding of the state of Israel. We forgive you for the penetration of corruption into government. We forgive you for the confused leadership. We forgive you because the job is simply too big for you." Israelis have seldom been kind to their prime ministers, even the most beloved.
At Long Last
October 02, 2006
At first, McCarthyism was a partisan affair. Wisconsin’s junior senator rocketed to political stardom in February 1950, when he told the Republican Women’s Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, that Harry Truman’s State Department was infested with Communists. As that year’s midterm campaign progressed, Joe McCarthy’s staff helped doctor a photo of Maryland Democrat Millard Tydings, making him appear to be huddled with former U.S. Communist Party chief Earl Browder.
July 31, 2006
Israel is now at war with an enemy whose hostility is extreme, explicit, unrestrained, and driven by an ideology of religious hatred. But this is an enemy that does not field an army; that has no institutional structure and no visible chain of command; that does not recognize the legal and moral principle of noncombatant immunity; and that does not, indeed, acknowledge any rules of engagement. How do you--how does anyone--fight an enemy like that? I cannot deal with the strategy and tactics of such a fight.
July 31, 2006
All that was missing was the flight suit and the aircraft carrier. On June 21, Senator Rick Santorum joined Representative Pete Hoekstra, the suave Michigan Republican who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to make a surprising revelation. "We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq--chemical weapons," Santorum announced at a joint press conference. His evidence?
July 10, 2006
At dawn, the sky over Baghdad turns red for a few minutes before sunlight breaks through the dust. Combat engineers have been clearing IEDs from the streets of Amiriyah since 3 a.m., but the 500 American soldiers about to descend on the western Baghdad neighborhood wait for the sun. Just as it rises, Apache helicopter gunships arrive overhead, and, in the blinding light above them, two F-15 attack aircraft begin circling in a wide arc. The radio chatter quickens as the Bradley Fighting Vehicles on the ground and the aviation units above check in with one another.
May 01, 2006
Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine By Harold Bloom (Riverhead Books, 256 pp., $24.95) I. There are certain writers, such as Garry Wills and John Updike, who seem to aspire to a state of continuous publication, as if their readership were constantly reviewing them for tenure. Harold Bloom has been among their number since 1990, when he aimed The Book of J at a general readership. It is admirable to want to write criticism for someone other than one's colleagues and graduate students, and Bloom's intelligence, erudition, and charm have made him America's best-known man of letters.