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LAST LINE OF DEFENSE: Afghan National Army forces are not ready to rebuff an expected Taliban offensive, on its own, once all American troops leave after 2016, according to reports from U.S. Green Berets. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Afghanistan’s Taliban IS a terrorist organization

Congressional overseers should demand, in hearings or otherwise, for the White House and State Department to fully explain why the group isn’t on the State Department terror list.

Illustration on the childhood risks in contact sports by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Weighing the childhood risks of contact sports

The incidence and severity of brain injury is one of the hottest topics in sports media today, and it is creating a storm of near-panic in youth sports — especially football. We worry that the public’s misunderstanding of the available medical research is the gravest threat facing organized contact sport at the youth and high school levels.

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Eric Rose, 6, from Ellwood Christian Academy, in Selma, participates in a National School Choice Week rally at the Alabama State Capitol, Wednesday Jan. 28, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. Parents and students rallied on the lawn of the Alabama Capitol Wednesday, urging state politicians to provide more publicly funded education options.(AP Photo/Hal Yeager)

Busting myths about school choice

The implementation of school choice is sure to become much more popular as the myths surrounding race, religion, and student outcomes are continually disproven.

When a lawbreaker is a lovable rogue

Its title is long and the central character's name, Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod, is both long and tongue-twisting. Never fear. This book is actually short — a novella rather than a novel, though lots of white space between lines and chapters expand it to an ergonomically appealing size. It's also an appealing read.

M1903 SPRINGFIELD - formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30-06, Model 1903, is an American clip-loaded, 5-round magazine fed, bolt-action service rifle used primarily during the first half of the 20th century. It was officially adopted as a United States military bolt-action rifle on June 19, 1903, and saw service in World War I. It was officially replaced as the standard infantry rifle by the faster-firing semi-automatic 8 round M1 Garand starting in 1937. However, the M1903 Springfield remained in service as a standard issue infantry rifle during World War II, since the U.S. entered the war without sufficient M1 rifles to arm all troops. It also remained in service as a sniper rifle during World War II, the Korean War, and even in the early stages of the Vietnam War. It remains popular as a civilian firearm, historical collector's piece, and as a military drill rifle.

World War II's only execution for desertion

Seventy years ago tomorrow, Private Eddie Slovik (1920-1945) became the first and only soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion, a military offense that has recently surfaced in the news about Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Illustration on accurately identifying Islamist terror by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Freedom, security — and the truth

With blizzards, deflated footballs and green-lipsticked YouTube personalities dominating recent news, it was easy to miss two hugely important truth-telling moments. If only they had received the same coverage as air pressure in NFL regulation footballs.

Illustration on the failed policy of enemy combatant internment by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The al-Marri enigma

Ali Saleh al-Marri is a convicted conspirator who entered the United States before Sept. 11, 2001, in order to create a dreaded sleeper cell here that might someday launch an attack on Americans similar to what we witnessed earlier this month in Paris. When the feds woke from their slumber on Sept. 11, they wisely began to search immigration records for persons who came here with no discernible purpose from places known to spawn terrorist groups and who had overstayed their visas. Al-Marri was one such person.

Why Azerbaijan is important to America and the free world

Last year marked the 23rd anniversary of Azerbaijan's independence from the Soviet Union. Why is that important to America? It's in a part of the world that is in a chaotic state. Azerbaijan, after a mere 23 years of independence, stands out as a friend to America and a stabilizing force in the region. Russia and Iran border Azerbaijan, and the policies of those countries make it even more important that the United States and the rest of the free world have a stalwart friend in the region. There are many other reasons why we should value our relationship with Azerbaijan.

Conservatism has blossomed into the major intellectual and political force of our time. (Rod Lamkey Jr/ The Washington Times)

Conservatism is now everywhere

There is a problem with the Internet. Its commentary is too often dominated by pinheads. H.L. Mencken used to complain that only idiots write letters to the editor. That might have been true of his day — the 1920s and 1930s — but in our time writers of letters to the editor of newspapers and even of websites are occasionally quite well-informed and even lucid. But others, I am afraid, are indeed pinheads, sitting in their underwear back home, foaming at the mouth, believing that the whole world is profoundly interested in their every word, until the authorities arrive at their homes to take them away.

Illustration on heroism replaced by narcissism by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Heroes in the age of the selfie

Heroes, real ones, are getting harder to find. One of the few remaining annual surprises in the typical State of the Union address is the president's introduction of his "mystery guest." President Reagan introduced the first one in 1982, celebrating one Leonard Skutnik for an extraordinary act of courage.

The unbearable heaviness of being Russian

What Viennese wits used to say about the dying Austro-Hungarian Empire also applies to the corruption-stoked, smoke-and-mirrors world of Vladimir Putin's Russia: "The situation is hopeless but not serious." By the time you reach Page 131 of Peter Pomerantsev's brilliant collection of sketches from the life in 21st century Russia you may find yourself echoing the lament of one of its more sympathetic characters ("Grigory," an unusually bright, relatively cultivated member of the new class of Russian entrepreneur-tycoons): "There must be some way of working out how to make Russia work. Must be!"

A New York City snowplow, loaded with salt, sits parked in midtown Manhattan as light snow falls, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. Northeast residents are girding for a heavy snowstorm that could bury communities from northern New Jersey to southern Maine in up to 2 feet of snow. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Another snow job

Today, politicians and their ideological fellow travelers in the media use the normal cycles of the seasons to promote "climate change."