John Burns

A Militia, a Madrassa, and the Story Behind a Siege in Yemen
January 30, 2012

On-the-ground reporting from Peter Theo Curtis, who was just released from captivity.

How Ridiculous is David Paterson?
August 28, 2010

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] The New York Times is a wonderful newspaper, but it is rarely a humorous one. Indeed, most of the funny or ridiculous things one finds in the paper are unintentionally amusing (Lisa Miller's credulous "report" on reincarnation is a good example).

Everything Is Not Copacetic*, Ms. Napolitano Has Realized.
December 28, 2009

“Copacetic.” “Fine and dandy,” says the Webster's New International. Textured origins can be found in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and the various Oxfords. Mixed origins, actually, from the black South, Creole French, Harlem jazz, Italian and Hebrew/Yiddish. The last pairing points to a Hebrew phrase, “kol b'tsedek,” “all with justice.” I've never heard this phrase, and I don't believe it's the secret behind "copacetic" for a moment.

Saddam Hussein Confesses ... After Death
January 09, 2007

I admire John Burns of The New York Times, and I particularly admire his Iraq reporting which doesn't try to enlist you on either the anti or pro side of the war. He reports what he hears and sees. And tells you what he understands. "Hussein's Voice Speaks in Court in Praise of Atrocities" is the headline to his Tuesday article. Saddam is in a recorded argument with "a notorious hardliner" who seems to be against the use of chemical attacks on the Kurds. But Saddam thrills to say, "Yes, they will kill thousands." And, yes, roughly 180,000 Kurds were killed by chemical warfare.