Michael Tomasky

Michael Tomasky is the American editor-at-large of the Guardian (UK). He was executive editor of the Prospect from 2003 to 2006.

Recent Articles

Caving In

Remember back when the Taliban was evil? Sure you do. George W. Bush used that tough frontier talk of which his speechwriters are so fond, the press swooned and every decent American was made to understand that the Bush administration, unlike its morally rickety predecessor, would never give an inch to such people. So guess who's negotiating with them now? Last week a Pakistani jihadi leader told the Asia Times that he had set up a meeting between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials and Taliban leaders to discuss the seriously deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. At the meeting, held at a Pakistani air-force base, FBI officials floated the possibility that the Taliban might have a role in the future Afghan government on four conditions: that Mullah Omar be removed as leader, that foreign combatants engaged in fighting against U.S. and allied troops be deported, that any captive allied soldiers be released and that Afghans currently living abroad be brought into the government...

Prevaricating President

The extent of the Bush administration's abuse of intelligence and propagandizing on behalf of this "optional war," as George Will casually called it, is at this point clear to anyone watching. So are the recent and continuing lies and fictions. To take one of the most striking: Donald Rumsfeld said on March 30 that we knew precisely that weapons of mass destruction were in and around Tikrit and Baghdad; Condoleezza Rice said Sunday, "No one ever said that we knew precisely where" the weapons caches were. In fact, matters reached the point of comedy this week as we watched George W. Bush define deviousness down from "weapons of mass destruction" to a mere "weapons program," a criterion by which we would be obligated to invade virtually every nation on earth except Monaco (although even the pesky Monegasques, being sort of French and all, aren't above suspicion). The question for Democrats now: How to make Americans care? We're living in times that I don't even know how to describe. It'...

Off Sides

It may not have been one of my most important journalistic assignments, but going up to Bristol, Conn., to spend a Sunday afternoon in October 1991 with Chris Berman, Tom Jackson and the rest of ESPN's NFL Prime Time crew still rates among the most enjoyable. I remember how agog I was as they led me into their inner sanctum, a dimly lit conference room with mammoth bowls of chips and popcorn, footballs for tossing around (for mood establishment) and, most impressively (especially for 1991), 15 or so televisions arrayed along one wall so they could watch every game in progress. At the time I was representing The Village Voice , and though I recall Berman making one gentle crack about the cross-cultural incongruities separating a bohemian newspaper from the National Football League (and as a Brown University graduate, he surely had personal experience with such incongruities), he and everyone else went along with my story in good cheer. Because what was interesting about Prime Time in...

True Lies

A fresh and potentially damning revelation about pre-war manipulation of intelligence comes out, and the administration -- for the first time -- has to acknowledge that an "incorrect" justification for war was bruited. It's yet another instance -- the 13,862nd, I think -- over which we shake our heads, imagining what the right would have done if a Gore administration had tried to get away with something like this. And so, once again, we are confronted with the same exasperating question: What has to happen to make the American people care about the lies told to get us into this war? Actually, there are a few encouraging signs of disarray. Joseph C. Wilson IV's thunderbolt New York Times op-ed piece Sunday debunking George W. Bush's State of the Union claim about the Iraq-Niger uranium connection could prove to be a turning point. But for that to happen -- that is, for the people to care -- the media has to tell them it's something they should care about. It would be too much at this...

Anger Management

A leading conservative trope these days seems to be a genuine (although I wonder how genuine) puzzlement over liberal anger. For reasons we'll get to shortly, the Fourth of July strikes me as a very appropriate occasion on which to explain that anger's sources. Permit me, then, as a certain famous American document once put it, to submit these facts to a candid world. Here, distilled into four paragraphs, is the liberal interpretation of the last 10 years. After a long and in some ways well-earned stroll in the wilderness, Democrats finally elect one of their own to the presidency. He is a prodigiously talented man. He has flaws, to be sure, and some of them are important. But far more important is the way the rules of the game change upon his ascension. On election night, the nation's leading Republican goes on television and snorts that the victory is illegitimate; from that point on, a campaign is waged to destroy -- not tarnish or discredit or soften up, but destroy -- the new...

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