What Motivated The Mehsud Killing?
August 11, 2009

One interesting wrinkle in the story of Baitullah Mehsud's assassination-by-drone is that Mehsud has long been a higher-priority target for Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, than he has been for the United States. This may have been for personal reasons. Pakistan and the CIA both believe that Baitullah Mehsud was responsible for the assassination of Zardari's wife, Benazir Bhutto. And ever since, Zardari has feared that he will be the next target. The Bush administration, however, was reportedly unwilling to send drones against Mehsud.

Failure of Leadership
August 10, 2009

Last week, the White House released a list of recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that the United States government can afford a civilian. Among the 16 awardees are truly great figures: breast cancer philanthropist Nancy Goodman Brinker, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and Sidney Poitier, the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

"...A Government In Tel Aviv..." What Nonsense! Alas, It's Also Rancid Bigotry And Deceit
August 05, 2009

The phrase, "a government in Tel Aviv," does not come from an article written in 1948 during which the provisional government of Israel had, in fact, headquartered itself in the city then only 40 years old. Not at all.

How Confused Are Americans About Health Care?
July 30, 2009

The New York Times' lede story today, which summarizes the paper's poll on health care and other issues, has taken flak from Mickey Kaus (second item). Here is the Times: Over all, the poll portrays a nation torn by conflicting impulses and confusion. In one finding, 75 percent of respondents said they were concerned that the cost of their own health care would eventually go up if the government did not create a system of providing health care for all Americans.

Today At Tnr (july 28, 2009)
July 28, 2009

Obama Vs. Bibi? Six Ways The President Can Regain Israeli Trust, by Yossi Klein Halevi So Are We Having Our ‘Conversation’ On Race Now, Or What? by John McWhorter Washington Diarist: Leszek Kolakowski And The Spirituality Of Philosophy, by Leon Wieseltier Why It’s Dangerous To Spend Too Little On Health Reform, by Jonathan Cohn The Venezuelan Constitution Vs. The Venezuelan Reality. (The Constitution Is Losing.), by Francisco Toro The Case For A Four-Day Workweek, by Bradford Plumer From Joe The Plumber To Frank Ricci To Sgt. Crowley, Are Aggrieved White Men The GOP's Best Hope?

Tnr Slideshow: Mormonism And The Feds
July 20, 2009

Today, President Obama met with Thomas S. Monson (above), the president of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). While they're friendly now, the Mormon Church and the federal government have often had a rocky relationship--from founder Joseph Smith's decision to advocate "theodemocracy" in place of the American system of government, to bouts of persecution and open warfare. Click here to read more about the interaction between the U.S. government and the Mormon Church, from Joseph Smith to the present day. --Dylan Matthews Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Richard A. Clarke, Ex-liberal Hero, And The Reality Of Counter-terrorist War
July 18, 2009

Richard A Clarke came from inside--high-inside--American intelligence. And he was against the Iraq war. It was enough to make him a liberal hero. But in his testimony to (and around) the 9/11 commission he was also critical, devastatingly so, about how the White House under both President Clinton and President Bush had been so pre-occupied with other matters that they'd left the war against terrorism which we needed direly more or less neglected. We know that Clinton barely functioned as president in his second term, and we all know why.

Rafsanjani Turns The Tide. What Now?
July 17, 2009

 Abbas Milani is the Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford, where he is also a co-director of Iranian studies at Stanford. His last book is Eminent Persians: The Men and Women who Made Modern Iran (Syracuse University Press, 2008). In the most anticipated speech of his storied career, Rafsanjani has finally weighed in on the side of the opposition in Iran's post-election crisis.

The New Democrats
July 15, 2009

What we are witnessing right now in the streets of Tehran is, first and foremost, a political battle for the future of the Iranian state. But closely linked to this political fight is also an old theological dispute about the nature of Shiism--a dispute that has been roiling Iran for more than a century. Shiism, like most religions, is no stranger to heated schisms. Shia and Sunnis split over the question of whether Muhammad had designated his son-in-law, Ali, as his successor (Shia believed he had).

The Bystander
July 15, 2009

In the affairs of states, lessons are often learned too late or too well. Faced with unexpected crises and unwelcome demands for prompt decision-making, governments think by analogy. And they are invariably keen to demonstrate that they have learned from their--or, more conveniently, their predecessors'--mistakes. The last time a Democrat occupied the White House, an inherited humanitarian mission in Somalia turned to disaster in the alleys of Mogadishu.