Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-founder and co-editor of the The American Prospect. and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history, he is the author of seven books, including most recently Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Heath Care Reform (Yale University Press, revised ed. 2013). Click here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

Starting Over

In his state of the union address in January, George W. Bush is widely expected to try to relaunch his presidency. That he needs a new start is a reflection of just how badly his second term has gone, even in the eyes of conservatives. His domestic initiatives regarding Social Security and tax reform are dead in the water, and every milestone in Iraq has proved to be a mirage. Still, he is president for another three years, the future of our country depends on his decisions, and the potential damage to the nation from a failed presidency and fruitless war puts the opposition in a difficult position. We can visualize the moment when Bush enters the House of Representatives for the annual rite. Democrats as well as Republicans will greet him with a thunderous ovation, and after he is introduced they will rise to applaud again. With Dick Cheney and Dennis Hastert sitting behind him, the president will tell us that the state of our union is strong. The boyish smile will then fade from his...

Slouching Toward Disaster

Most of us do not ordinarily consider our lives to be at stake in matters of public policy. The prospect of an avian flu pandemic, however, puts us all in jeopardy, and if the dilatory response of the Bush administration proves fatal in this case as it did after August 2001, when the president was told that Osama bin Laden was about to strike within the United States yet did nothing, or in the years leading up to Hurricane Katrina, when engineers repeatedly warned that the levees in New Orleans were inadequate, we will pay an even greater price for our slothful, ideologically driven, and crony-ridden national leadership than in either of the epochal disasters that have so far befallen America in the Bush years. Scientific concern about avian flu did not just emerge recently, though one might have thought so from the flurry of administration activity this past month. Nor is the concern about a pandemic solely the result of the appearance of the H5N1 virus and the high mortality rate...

Slouching Toward Disaster

Most of us do not ordinarily consider our lives to be at stake in matters of public policy. The prospect of an avian flu pandemic, however, puts us all in jeopardy, and if the dilatory response of the Bush administration proves fatal in this case as it did after August 2001, when the president was told that Osama bin Laden was about to strike within the United States yet did nothing, or in the years leading up to Hurricane Katrina, when engineers repeatedly warned that the levees in New Orleans were inadequate, we will pay an even greater price for our slothful, ideologically driven, and crony-ridden national leadership than in either of the epochal disasters that have so far befallen America in the Bush years. Scientific concern about avian flu did not just emerge recently, though one might have thought so from the flurry of administration activity this past month. Nor is the concern about a pandemic solely the result of the appearance of the H5N1 virus and the high mortality rate...

Letting Go Of Iraq

The establishment of a pro-Iranian, Islamic government in Iraq was not exactly what the Bush administration told us to expect from the war. But it may well be the result, and I am beginning to think that there is nothing that the United States can or should do about it -- except to disengage from Iraq on an expeditious timetable. As I write, we are a week away from the August 15 deadline for a draft of the new Iraqi constitution, with no break yet in the long-running deadlock among Iraq's major factions over such issues as federalism. Assuming they do reach a compromise, however, the constitution is likely to include provisions for Islamic law that reduce the rights that women enjoyed even under Saddam Hussein. According to early reports about the structure of the new parliament, it's also likely that when elections are held in December, they will give the pro-Iranian Shia religious parties at least as much power as they won in the last elections, and probably more. What, then, will...

Letting Go of Iraq

The establishment of a pro-Iranian, Islamic government in Iraq was not exactly what the Bush administration told us to expect from the war. But it may well be the result, and I am beginning to think that there is nothing that the United States can or should do about it -- except to disengage from Iraq on an expeditious timetable. As I write, we are a week away from the August 15 deadline for a draft of the new Iraqi constitution, with no break yet in the long-running deadlock among Iraq's major factions over such issues as federalism. Assuming they do reach a compromise, however, the constitution is likely to include provisions for Islamic law that reduce the rights that women enjoyed even under Saddam Hussein. According to early reports about the structure of the new parliament, it's also likely that when elections are held in December, they will give the pro-Iranian Shia religious parties at least as much power as they won in the last elections, and probably more. What, then, will...

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