Magazine | September 2, 2013, Issue


A Dissent on Dissenting

I write in response to Arthur Herman’s article, “Sensitive SEALs,” in the August 5 National Review.

I am a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer, and I agree with all but one point Mr. Herman makes in his excellent article. I only take issue with Mr. Herman’s call for a senior general or admiral who is not a “complete moral coward” to call a halt to the assault on the military.

Senior military officers provide advice, but they are subordinate to civilian authority. Once the president has set the policy, officers are duty bound to implement it: Public dissent is not part of our tradition. Calling on our military to abandon this tradition, which officers hold as a sacred, most fundamental duty of service to our democracy, is misguided. Calling on Congress and the president to order an about-face is quite sane.

Captain Jeff Curl, U.S. Army (Retired)

Via e-mail

American-History Revisionism

With all due respect to the memory of Edmund S. Morgan (The Week, August 5), I question the statement that “the history of the Founding period has been well taught and well studied in American universities for the last four decades, thanks in great part to” this gentleman. My understanding from all that I have read (including in National Review) and heard — e.g., from attending alumni seminars at my alma mater, Williams College — is that most universities approach American history with a revisionist attack that leaves the eventual grads with a quite distorted view of the Declaration/Articles of Confederation/Constitutional Convention/Ratification–era thinking. If it were not for institutions such as Hillsdale College, the “educated” ranks would be bereft of those with a firm grasp on what the Founding Fathers had in mind for America’s governance.

Have you ever asked a recent college grad who “studied” American history what his view is of the relevance of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to today’s congressional activity?

Ted Baumgardner

Winter Park, Fla.

(AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Nick de la Torre)


In the August 19 issue, a photograph of former senator George J. Mitchell (D., Maine) that appeared in The Week was misidentified as a photograph of Texas businessman and “father of fracking” George P. Mitchell. Senator Mitchell must have been flattered to have such productivity attributed to him. George P. Mitchell is seen above.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

How Nature Works

Our contemporary debates about evolution are basically an extension of the argument Christians have been having with one another since the Middle Ages, about how much autonomy God granted to ...
Politics & Policy

The Myth Maker

Lawrence of Arabia enjoys a prominent place in the mysterious and self-perpetuating realm of myth. This remarkable achievement has always depended on the impression he left of himself as both ...


Politics & Policy


A Dissent on Dissenting I write in response to Arthur Herman’s article, “Sensitive SEALs,” in the August 5 National Review. I am a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer, and I agree ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Detroit is dead and al-Qaeda is alive. ‐ A group of conservative senators, most prominently including Ted Cruz, hopes to defund Obamacare by forcing a government-shutdown fight over a so-called ...

Keep Off the Grass

A rodeo clown in Missouri has been banned from rodeo-clowning for the rest of his life because he wore an Obama mask and subjected our president to ridicule. Tough break; ...
Politics & Policy


SPRING My enemy had hatched her young, Made real the heady boasts she’d sung, And when I saw the cherished thing, I vowed it would not fly or sing. My talons tightened in its fluff. Their ...
Happy Warrior

The Blasphemy Police

In 2010, the bestselling atheist Richard Dawkins, in the “On Faith” section of the Washington Post, called the pope “a leering old villain in a frock” perfectly suited to “the ...

Most Popular

Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More