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Steve Chapman


Iraq and the echoes of Vietnam

A corrupt government that has alienated many of its people finds itself unable to overcome a growing insurgency in an endless civil war and expects a superpower on the other side of the globe to come to its rescue. That’s the story in Iraq today — which carries eerie echoes of the not-so-distant past.

Obama’s deficient student loan plan

The government normally doesn’t care whether you or I accumulate large bills for home improvement, a new car or exotic vacations. But Barack Obama feels no hesitation in concluding that the cost of higher education has placed “too big a debt load on too many young people.” Therefore, something must be done.

Americans are not serious about government debt

The gross U.S. government debt now stands at $17 trillion, more than double what it was a decade ago. It’s still expanding, as the Treasury pays out more than it takes in, and the shortfall is expected to grow over the next decade. So it’s deeply gratifying to learn that Americans are “highly concerned” about the problem.

What went wrong in Iraq

When the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, Americans were told it would be a quick, simple project. When asked how long the war might last, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said airily, “Six days, six weeks, I doubt six months.”

Obama’s conservative foreign policy

Conservatives generally agree on a few propositions. The federal government should avoid spending money unnecessarily. It shouldn’t exceed its basic constitutional duties. It should encourage self-reliance rather than dependency. It should accept that some problems are beyond its ability to solve.

Obama’s conservative foreign policy

Conservatives generally agree on a few propositions. The federal government should avoid spending money unnecessarily. It shouldn’t exceed its basic constitutional duties. It should encourage self-reliance rather than dependency. It should accept that some problems are beyond its ability to solve.

Twilight for Obama

About now, Barack Obama may be wondering why he thought it would be such fun to serve a second term rather than go lounge on a beach in Hawaii. Life in the White House has become a daily ordeal of pain and frustration. Nothing is going well.

The FBI prospers by feeding fears

James Comey became FBI director last year, at a time when Osama bin Laden was dead, terrorism at home was on the decline and the United States was shrinking its inflammatory presence in the Muslim world. So naturally, he says the danger is way worse than you think.

FBI prospers by feeding fears

James Comey became FBI director last year, at a time when Osama bin Laden was dead, terrorism at home was on the decline and the United States was shrinking its inflammatory presence in the Muslim world. So naturally, he says the danger is way worse than you think.

Don’t silence graduation speakers

“Oh, that my enemy would write a book,” goes the old wish, coined by someone who knew there is no better way to expose fools than through their own words. It’s an idea that deserves consideration from the college students and faculty unhappy with their schools’ choice in commencement speakers.

The misinformed case for voter ID

The logic behind laws requiring voters to provide a government-issued photo identification card is simple and seductive: If you need to show an ID to board a plane, open a bank account, get public aid or do any number of other things, it only makes sense to do the same before casting a ballot.

On town prayer, the majority has its way

The United States was founded mostly by Protestants and remained overwhelmingly Protestant for many decades, a fact Protestants did not want Roman Catholics to forget. When Catholics began arriving here in large numbers in the middle of the 19th century, they found that in public schools the majority religion was pervasive and inhospitable.

Competing for the Obama Library

To say that California is in better fiscal condition than Illinois is like saying the captain of the Exxon Valdez grades out higher than the guy at the helm of the Titanic. Disasters come in different doses. One study found that California ranks 46th in the health of its state government finances, with Illinois limping in at 48th place.

The drone war’s secrets and lies

Barack Obama promised to install his administration in a glass house lit up like the Super Bowl, with everything visible to the citizenry he serves. So you will not be surprised to learn that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wants nothing more than to keep the public well informed.

Hillary Clinton, the unrepentant hawk

When he ran for president in 2000, George W. Bush promised to “stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions.” When he ran in 2008, Barack Obama trumpeted his opposition to the Iraq invasion while asserting that our “strength abroad is measured not just by armies but rather by the power of our ideals.”

What’s wrong with victims’ rights?

Criminals are generally despised, and cops are not universally beloved. But one participant in the criminal justice system has no enemies: victims of crime. They’re the Sara Lee of American politics. Everybody doesn’t like someone, but nobody doesn’t like victims.

Obama and the appeasement myth

Hawks in the wild tend to be solitary creatures. But those in Washington, D.C., often appear in noisy flocks. As Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his predatory activities in Ukraine, conservatives here are unanimous on how the Obama administration should respond: by emulating the Bush administration.

Harmless drones get federal flak

In March 2012, volunteers spent four days looking for a 2-year-old boy who wandered away from his home outside Houston, Texas. They found him only after volunteers reviewing images captured by a drone-mounted aerial camera saw a flash of red in a pond that had already been searched. It turned out to be a shirt worn by the child, who had drowned.

Lifting the lid on campaign contributions

The Supreme Court decision killing limits on total donations to political candidates means billionaires will be running amok. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson can lay out astronomical sums to help Republicans. Oilmen Charles and David Koch can see him and raise him. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg can burn through his fortune like a blowtorch.

Boots on the ground in Ukraine?

The United States government has a dangerous penchant for military intervention, so after Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea, it was a relief that no one talked about sending troops or deploying bombers. Sen. John McCain scotched any such notion by acknowledging glumly that “there is not a military option.”

How Hobby Lobby will hurt conservatives

Lawyers for Hobby Lobby this week urged the Supreme Court to let companies opt out of certain health insurance rules for religious reasons, and they have a good chance of success. If employers are allowed to refuse to provide coverage that pays for certain types of contraception, it will be a big victory for religious conservatives. Or will it?