A War Against History

It's the tenth anniversary of the Gulf War. America certainly didn't lose, but what else do we know about it?

 

Just before dawn on August 2, 1990, a war of a sort began in the Middle East. An Iraqi army of 100,000 troops crossed the frontier of Kuwait and swept south toward the capital city. Before the day was out, Iraq had occupied virtually all Kuwait, and Iraqi formations were seen as far south as the Saudi Arabian border. Neither observers on the spot nor Western intelligence agencies were able to say what the president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, intended to do next.

The Return Of The Peacemakers

The great emancipator and the liberator of Kuwait get together in the newest White House portrait

 

From the moment he was first inspired to paint it, George Peter Alexander Healy harbored huge ambitions for the canvas he entitled The Peacemakers . The artist longed for it to be universally embraced as “a true historical picture,” cherished as the emblem of sectional reconciliation following the bloody Civil War.

 
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“we Had A Great History, And We Turned Aside”

A long-time Republican-party insider and close student of its past discusses how the party has changed over the years—for better and for worse —and where it may be headed.

Jack Kemp was born in 1935 in Los Angeles; his father owned a small trucking company. He came of political age in a time and place that made it likely enough that he would become a lifelong Republican, and he did. But the kind of Republican Jack Kemp became defies stereotype. Read more »

The Public Schools And The Public Mood

Since the birth of the nation, the public’s perception of the quality of public schools has swung from approval to dismay and back again. Here an eminent historian traces the course of school reform and finds that neither conservative nor liberal movements ever fully achieve their aims—which may be just as well.

In a historic meeting at Charlottesville, Virginia, last September, President George Bush and the nation’s governors promised to revitalize America’s public schools by establishing “clear national performance goals, goals that will make us internationally competitive.” Their language recalled the document that had inspired school reforms earlier in the 1980s, A Nation at Risk.Read more »

The Wimp Factor

A year ago we were in the midst of a presidential campaign most memorable for charges by both sides that the opponent was not hard enough, tough enough, masculine enough. That he was, in fact, a sissy. Both sides also admitted this sort of rhetoric was deplorable. But it’s been going on since the beginning of the Republic.

Just before George Bush announced his running mate in 1988, a one-liner going the rounds was that he should choose Jeane Kirkpatrick to add some machismo to the ticket. Until midway through the campaign the embarrassing “fact” about Bush, as revealed in a spate of jokes, cartoons, and anecdotes gleefully reported or generated by the press, was the candidate’s “wimpiness.” A wimp, of course, is effete, ineffectual, somehow unmanly. Real men, the diametrical opposite of wimps, are war heroes and government leaders, especially combat pilots and spy masters. But wait!Read more »