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Posts By Author » Victor Davis Hanson

Obama and the road not taken
  31 Jul 2014     12:05 am

The Obama administration often denies any responsibility for the current global chaos or claims that it erupted spontaneously. Yet most of the mess was caused by, or made worse by, growing U.S. indifference and paralysis.
Over the last five and a half years, America has had lots of clear choices, but the administration usually took the path of least short-term trouble, which has ensured long-term hardship.

There was no need to “reset” the relatively mild punishments that the George W. Bush administration had accorded Vladimir Putin’s Russia for invading Georgia in 2008. …

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George Patton’s summer of 1944
  24 Jul 2014     12:05 am

Nearly 70 years ago, on Aug. 1, 1944, Lieutenant General George S. Patton took command of the American Third Army in France. For the next 30 days they rolled straight toward the German border.

Patton almost did not get a chance at his summer of glory. After brilliant service in North Africa and Sicily, fellow officers — and his German enemies — considered him the most gifted American field general of his generation. But near the conclusion of his illustrious Sicilian campaign, the volatile Patton slapped two sick GIs in field …

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The turbulent summer of 2014
  17 Jul 2014     12:05 am

The summer of 2014 will go down in history as the season when America fell apart. Let’s take a tour of the disasters.
Germany in 2008 enthusiastically hosted candidate Barack Obama for his so-called Victory Column speech. Now, Germans suddenly sound as if they are near-enemies of the U.S. Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly was furious that her cell phone was tapped by American intelligence agents. She just kicked the top CIA official out of Germany, further enraged that the U.S. had recruited at least one German official to provide intelligence on …

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Hypocrites Take A Selfish Stance On Border Crisis
  10 Jul 2014     12:05 am

No one knows just how many tens of thousands of Central American nationals — most of them desperate, unescorted children and teens — are streaming across America’s southern border. Yet this phenomenon offers us a proverbial teachable moment about the paradoxes and hypocrisies of Latin American immigration to the U.S.

For all the pop romance in Latin America associated with Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, few Latinos prefer to immigrate to such communist utopias or to socialist spins-offs like Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador or Peru.
Instead, hundreds of thousands of poor people continue to …

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Obama Seeks An Escape From The Middle East
  3 Jul 2014     12:05 am

In his first term, Barack Obama all but declared victory in America’s Middle East struggles.
As he precipitously pulled out all U.S. peacekeepers from Iraq, the president had his own “Mission Accomplished” moment when declaring the country “stable,” “self-reliant” and an “extraordinary achievement.”

Those claims echoed Vice President Joe Biden’s earlier boast that Iraq somehow would prove Obama’s “greatest achievement.”
After the death of Osama bin Laden, and during Obama’s re-election campaign, the president also proclaimed that al-Qaeda was a spent force and “on the run.”
But what exactly was the new Obama strategy …

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Revisionist History Prevails On Iraq Invasion
  26 Jun 2014     12:05 am

So who lost Iraq?
The blame game mostly fingers incompetent Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Or is Barack Obama culpable for pulling out all American troops monitoring the success of the 2007-08 surge?

Some still blame George W. Bush for going into Iraq in 2003 in the first place to remove Saddam Hussein.
One can blame almost anyone, but one must not invent facts to support an argument.
Do we remember that Bill Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 that supported regime change in Iraq? He gave an eloquent speech …

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Middle East Holds Few Attractive Options For Obama
  19 Jun 2014     12:05 am

Two and a half years ago, the U.S. pulled every soldier out of a mostly quiet Iraq. In the void, formerly al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists calling themselves “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” are now tearing apart the country, leaving medieval savagery in their wake.

Obama partisans are blaming the Bush administration for going into Iraq in the first place. But critics counter that Obama wanted out of Iraq before the 2012 election at all costs. The result of that reckless skedaddle is that we have thrown away the hard work of …

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Sgt. Bergdahl And The Us Departure From Afghanistan
  12 Jun 2014     12:05 am

Soon we shall get to the bottom of the swap of five Taliban kingpins from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for one Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
In time we will learn whether Bergdahl really served with “honor and distinction” and was “captured on the battlefield,” as National Security Adviser Susan Rice has stated. Or whether, as fellow soldiers of his platoon insist, he was a deserter who left his comrades to seek out the Taliban.

We will soon discover whether Bergdahl’s serious health problems or imminent danger prompted President Obama to make the …

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The troubling plight of the modern university
  5 Jun 2014     12:05 am

 
Employment rates for college graduates are dismal. Aggregate student debt is staggering. But university administrative salaries are soaring. The campus climate of tolerance has utterly disappeared. Only the hard sciences and graduate schools have salvaged American universities’ international reputations.
 
For over two centuries, our superb system of American public and private higher education kept pace with radically changing times and so ensured our prosperity and reinforced democratic pluralism.
 
But a funny thing has happened on the way to the 21st century. Colleges that were once our most enlightened and tolerant institutions became …

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What was D-Day?
  29 May 2014     12:05 am

Seventy years ago this June 6, the Americans, British and Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest amphibious invasion of Europe since the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece in 480 B.C.

About 160,000 troops landed on five Normandy beaches and linked up with airborne troops in a masterful display of planning and courage. Within a month almost a million Allied troops had landed in France and were heading eastward toward the German border. Within 11 months the war with Germany was over.
The western front required the diversion of hundreds …

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Politics have trumped ethics in the Obama administration
  22 May 2014     12:05 am

Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki cannot get a handle on the recent scandalous treatment of veterans in VA hospitals, where more than 40 sick men were allowed to die without proper follow-up treatment. A cover-up allegedly followed. When the Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal broke under the George W. Bush administration, heads rolled. So far, Shinseki seems immune from similar accountability.

Almost nothing that former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius promised before, during or after the implementation of the ill-starred Affordable Care Act came true. She was …

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Modern world is still premodern in many ways
  15 May 2014     12:05 am

Nigeria’s homegrown, al-Qaeda-linked militant group, Boko Haram, brags openly that it recently kidnapped about 300 young Nigerian girls. It boasts that it will sell them into sexual slavery.

Those terrorists have a long and unapologetic history of murdering kids who dare to enroll in school, and Christians in general. For years, Western aid groups have pleaded with the State Department to at least put Boko Haram on the official list of terrorist groups. But former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team was reluctant to come down so harshly, in apparent worry …

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What do the Putins of the world want?
  8 May 2014     12:05 am

 
Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a disaster of a declining population, corruption, authoritarianism, a warped economy and a high rate of alcoholism.
 
Why, then, would Putin want to ruin additional territory in Crimea and Ukraine the way that he has wrecked most of Russia?

 
Doesn’t Russia have enough land for its diminishing population? Are there not enough minerals, timber, gas and oil for Putin’s kleptocrats?
 
In the modern age, especially since Karl Marx, we rationalize the causes of wars as understandable fights over real things, like access to ports, oil fields, good farmland and …

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The end of affirmative action
  1 May 2014     12:05 am

 
Sometimes doctrines just vanish, once they appear as naked as the proverbial emperor in his new clothes.
 
Something like that seems now to be happening with affirmative action. Despite all the justifications for its continuance, polling shows the public still strongly disagrees with the idea of using racial criteria for admissions and hiring.

 
Its dwindling supporters typically include those who directly benefit from it, or who are not adversely affected by it. Arguments for the continuance of affirmative action are half-hearted and may explain why some supporters descend into name-calling directed at …

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Reid has become a McCarthy for our time
  24 Apr 2014     12:05 am

We should ask Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) the same question once posed to Sen. Joseph McCarthy by U.S. Army head counsel Robert N. Welch: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Reid is back in the news for denigrating the peaceful supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a popular critic of the Bureau of Land Management policy, as “domestic terrorists.”

McCarthy in the 1950s became infamous for smearing his opponents with lurid allegations that he could not prove, while questioning their …

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Who are the real saboteurs of immigration reform?
  17 Apr 2014     12:05 am

Solving the illegal immigration problem should not be hard. No one knows how many foreign nationals are residing illegally in the United States — estimates range from 11 million to 20 million. But everyone understands that it is an untenable situation that must be addressed.

The two extreme positions of the Left and Right probably have little public support — on the one hand, blanket amnesties and open borders, and on the other, deportation of all foreign nationals who reside here without legal authorization.
Polls show that most Americans want something in …

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The new Inquisition
  10 Apr 2014     12:05 am

What if you believed that the planet might not have warmed up the last two decades, even though carbon emissions reached all-time highs?

Or, if the earth did heat up, you thought that it was not caused by human activity?
Or, if global warming were the fault of mankind, you trusted that the slight increases would not make all that much difference?
The Los Angeles Times would not print your letter to the editor to that effect.
The CEO of Apple Inc. might advise that you should “get out of this stock.”
Or maybe if …

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One California for me, another for thee
  3 Apr 2014     12:05 am

No place on the planet is as beautiful and as naturally rich as California. And few places have become as absurd.
Currently, three California state senators are either under felony indictment or already have been convicted.

State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) made a political career out of demanding harsher state gun-control laws. Now he is facing several felony charges for attempting to facilitate gun-running. One count alleges that Lee sought to provide banned heavy automatic weapons to Philippines-based Islamic terrorist groups.
State Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), who had succeeded one brother, Thomas, …

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Massaging Of Critical Data Undermines Our Society
  27 Mar 2014     12:05 am

Transparency and truth are the fuels that run sophisticated civilizations. Without them, the state grinds to a halt. Lack of trust — not barbarians on the frontier, global warming or cooling, or even epidemics — doomed civilizations of the past, from imperial Rome to the former Soviet Union.

The United States can withstand the untruth of a particular presidential administration if the permanent government itself is honest. Dwight Eisenhower lied about the downed U-2 spy plane inside the Soviet Union. Almost nothing Richard Nixon said about Watergate was true. Intelligence reports …

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Technology is not wisdom
  20 Mar 2014     12:05 am

Americans now have more computer power in their smart phones than did the Pentagon in all its computer banks just 30 years ago. We board a sophisticated jet and assume that the flight is no more dangerous than crossing the street.

The downside of this complete reliance on computer gadgetry is a fundamental ignorance of what technology is. Smart machines are simply the pumps that deliver the water of knowledge — not knowledge itself.
What does it matter that millions of American students can communicate across thousands of miles instantly with their …

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