I once had a very close friend named Charlie. We spent every day together, much of the night, too. I got to learn about his family and old neighborhood, and he got to learn about mine, and then one day I saw him no more. I went my way and he went his, and it has been many years but I remember him still. We had been in the Army together.
What ...Read more
EDITOR'S NOTE: Richard Cohen is taking a one week vacation. His next column will move Monday, September 11, for release Tuesday, September 12. Until his return, you are welcome to run ANY of our other syndicated columns in his place, including by writers your publication does not subscribe to. To use a substitute column, first go to syndication....Read more
The useful idiots are falling by the wayside. First came a few corporate big shots, and then some more, and then many, many more. Princes of Wall Street, richer and more important than any CEO, also left and then Julius Krein, a conservative intellectual and digital pamphleteer, retracted his support of Donald Trump in a New York Times op-ed and...Read more
Touch not that statue of Robert E. Lee in lovely Charlottesville, Virginia. Let it stand, keep it handsome and dignified, but around it place plaques telling the curious that the man memorialized there was a traitor to his country who went to war so that white people could continue to own black people -- to take their women and sell their ...Read more
Last month, Simon Kuper wrote in his Financial Times column that he was applying for French citizenship. His wife and children, Americans all, had already done so. They live in Paris, so they are not leaving one country for another, but the column made me wonder if I could ever do anything similar. The quick answer is no, but Donald Trump has ...Read more
Mike Pence is denying reports that he is positioning himself to run for president in 2020 if, for some reason, Donald Trump falls by the wayside or decides that one term is enough. The vice president's denial was so over-the-top -- "disgraceful and offensive," he called The New York Times story -- that had he been on a polygraph, he would have ...Read more
This summer's big movie is "Dunkirk." Since its July 21 opening, it has taken in over $100 million in North America and been hailed by ecstatic critics everywhere. I have seen the film twice, admiring it even more the second time. It is a stupendous achievement, although more than a little odd. It's a war film for the Trump era. It is deaf to ...Read more
John McCain's mother's name is Roberta. She is 105. When I met her, she was somewhat younger and something of a mythical figure to those who knew her son. He had often told about her trips through Europe and Asia by car while in her 90s, and so one night at a party John McCain was giving I approached her, wanting to know more about her. I asked ...Read more
An Act of WarMichael K. McMahan
When Lt. Travis Kelly kills a North Vietnamese officer near the Cambodian border in 1969, he tries hard to put the incident--and the rest of the Vietnam War--behind him. But like so many of Travis's experience in the war, this one comes continues to haunt him decades ...
Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I differed with a friend who said I was wrong to support an invasion of Afghanistan to root out al-Qaida and punish the Taliban. I said America had no choice but to make the terrorists and their Afghan host pay for what they had done. I insisted I was right. That, amazingly was almost 16 years...Read more
Somewhere over the Atlantic, as Air Force One was hurtling toward Poland, President Trump opened the door and threw out America's values. In Warsaw, he delivered a speech a parakeet could have swiftly mastered -- "That's trouble, that's tough," he called the 1939 dual invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union. He then moved on to ...Read more
Of all the wars with odd names -- the War of Jenkins' Ear comes to mind -- the potential one with North Korea may take its rightful place. It could be called the War of Trump's Mouth for all the stupid and inconsistent things the president has said about both China and North Korea. He needs to get the former to squeeze the latter, but he has ...Read more
Leave it to Ben Bradlee to set things straight. The late executive editor of The Washington Post appeared on "The Dick Cavett Show" back in March 1973 and talked about the Pentagon Papers. They contained the secret history of America's involvement in Vietnam and were first published by The New York Times and then The Washington Post, against the...Read more
Every once in a while, as often as a blue moon or a politician forgoing the use of the word "frankly," I utter a soft "Right on" in response to something President Trump has done or tweeted. This occurred recently when he took Barack Obama to task for his weak -- and tardy -- response to Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. For a moment there...Read more
Little Marco has made up with Big Donald.
The pliable Republican senator from Florida and the deranged president of the United States now get along. It was only a bit more than a year ago that they were hurling verbal spitballs at one another. Donald Trump called Marco Rubio "Little Marco," and Rubio called Trump a "con artist." Rubio suggested...Read more
In college, I had an anthropology teacher who roamed the Earth studying bizarre folkways. But the people who most fascinated him happened to be in his own backyard -- New Yorkers who could remain asleep on a screeching subway as it started, stopped and even when the power failed and the lights blinked, finally going as dark as Donald Trump's ...Read more
The great jazz singer Billie Holiday recorded "Strange Fruit" on April 20, 1939. It is a song about lynchings, inspired by the 1930 murder of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, who were photographed, in the words of the song, "hanging from the poplar trees." Holiday sang the song so often and it meant so much to her that she apparently came to ...Read more
From time to time, I email Allison Stanger. She answers always, but says she is not yet healthy enough to talk. On March 2, Stanger was escorting the social scientist Charles Murray, whose speech at Middlebury College where she teaches had just been shouted down, when the mob charged their car. "Someone pulled my hair," she recounted, "while ...Read more