Tara McKelvey

Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at the Prospect, is a research fellow at NYU School of Law's Center on Law and Security and the author of Monstering: Inside America’s Policy on Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War.

Recent Articles


Now that Robert McNamara is gone, it is worth looking back at his legacy, not the least of which was the emotional morass that he left behind.


A news photographer told me that when he was covering the war in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, he discovered that the Army color-coded photographs that appeared in newspapers and magazines: Green meant that they liked the picture and that it reflected well on the troops; yellow meant that they had mixed feelings about the picture; and red meant that the photograph showed the troops in a bad light. The people who were guilty of taking too many red-coded photographs found it harder to get access to soldiers. That was back when Donald Rumsfeld was in charge -- a man who was, of course, hostile toward the media and tried to guilt-trip them into presenting a positive picture of U.S. forces in Iraq. When he left office, those days were supposed to be over.

Keeping Secrets

Lawyers and shrinks have privilege; journalists should, too. But it's not that simple.

In Confidence: When to Protect Secrecy and When to Require Disclosure
by Ronald Goldfarb, Yale University Press, 289 pages, $27.50

Our Man in Kabul

Richard Holbrooke learned some hard lessons in Vietnam. Now he is applying them to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

At 5 P.M. on a weekday in Oak Grove, Kentucky, not far from Fort Campbell, a dark-haired woman is standing in front of her house on Artic Avenue. She watches her dog run through the yard. Inside, her 3-year-old son waits. She tells me that her husband is coming back from Afghanistan in a few days. He has been deployed three times, and he will probably be sent over again. When I ask when his fourth deployment will be, she shrugs her shoulders.

"Who knows," she says, declining to give her name for fear it will get her husband into trouble with the military. "We're the last ones to know anything."

A Piecemeal Approach to Undoing Bush's Wrongs

The liberal post-Bush fantasy involves Watergate-style, months-long congressional hearings on the recently departed administration's illicit activities, exposing the criminality of warrantless wiretapping, torture, rendition, and other programs. Except that President Barack Obama has already said he wants to move on. "We need to look forward as opposed to looking backward," he told George Stephanopoulous in January on This Week. After all, the president and Congress have an economic meltdown on their hands.