Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.
Marking the end of the military operation in Iraq, US President Barack Obama gave a speech on the overall success of the mission. Here is a transcript of his words:
Hello, everybody! Hello, Fort Bragg! All the way!
Now, I'm sure you realise why I don't like following Michelle Obama. She's pretty good. And it is true, I am a little biased, but let me just say it: Michelle, you are a remarkable First Lady.
You are a great advocate for military families. And you're cute. I'm just saying, gentlemen, that's your goal: to marry up. Punch above your weight.
Fort Bragg, we're here to mark a historic moment in the life of our country and our military.
For nearly nine years our nation has been at war in Iraq.
And you - the incredible men and women of Fort Bragg - have been there every step of the way, serving with honour, sacrificing greatly, from the first waves of the invasion to some of the last troops to come home.
So, as your commander-in-chief and on behalf of a grateful nation, I'm proud to finally say these two words, and I know your...More >>
A September 2011 Human Rights Watch report, “Just Don’t Call it a Militia: Impunity, Militias, and the ‘Afghan Local Police,’” detailed abuses by the ALP and various militias created or supported by the US since the defeat of Taliban rule in 2001. The report, while acknowledging that ALP units had contributed recently to improved security in some areas, documented serious abuses by ALP and other US-backed forces in several provinces, including looting, illegal detention, beatings, killings, sexual assault, and extortion. The report also described how the establishment of the ALP had inflamed ethnic tensions in some areas.
A year ago, gambling on the fall of the Assad regime in Syria would have been a bad bet. These days, it almost seems inevitable that the dictator will fall. The only questions that remain are how soon it will happen, and whether the regime that follows will be able to rule without inheriting Assad's bloody leadership style.
European Union: gamechanger for the left. "As Henry Ford might have put it, voters will still be allowed to pick governments of any colour they like, so long as they limit themselves to Chicago School precepts."
A Badly Invented People. A national identity based not merely upon myths but upon easily-proven lies is not much of an identity.
AMERICAN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. Can we have our stealth drone back, please?
IRANIAN THUG-IN-CHIEF MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD. Let me put it this way: if we had a dozen of these birds based in Cuba fitted with nuclear warheads, we'd happily turn your eastern seaboard into a molten radioactive ruin.
AMERICAN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. How about if we go soft on those sanctions?
IRANIAN THUG-IN-CHIEF MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD. How about if you chop off your own head and save us the trouble, Infidel?
AMERICAN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. I'm so glad we have these fruitful conversations proving to all Americans once more that dialogue is the path to understanding.
The hard-hitting investigative journalists at the Hollywood Reporter dig throroughly into a scandal first discovered by the even more hardworking pundits at Fox News:
THR: You can refuse to answer this question if you like, but it has to be asked: Are the Muppets communists?
Bobin: [Laughs] It's a very strange turn of events to hear a question like that. Cable news is 24 hours long so you have to fill it up with something. No, the Muppets are not communist. And the character of Tex Richman is not an allegory for capitalism in any way. The character is called Tex Richman. It's a joke. Clearly he is a classic, old school bad guy. He's bad not because he works for an oil company but because he's evil. No, it's not a communist movie in any way.
Thanks for clearing that up. It was really something I've been worried about.
If the people at Fox News had only done their research beforehand, they would have realized that while Kermit the Frog has often complained about the trials and tribulations of being green, neither he nor any other Muppet has ever mentioned anything...More >>
Just like they did the last time Pakistan closed the border to Afghanistan to NATO, effectively making the truck drivers sitting ducks for the Taliban. The only surprising thing is that it took a week for this to happen.
Since Pakistan is at least theoretically in charge of security over its own border crossings, anyone want to take bets on whether they will compensate NATO for the carnage their withdrawal of security has wrought? If you've filled up your car lately, you have to assume that ten tanker trucks full of gasoline isn't cheap.
One wishes Pakistan would just declare war on NATO and get it over with.
(The video below might not accurately depict how it all went down)