False Victories in the War on Terror

In the rush of recent news about renditions, extraordinary renditions, the beating to death and systematic abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan, the holding of children as young as 11 in Abu Ghraib prison, the desire of Donald Rumsfeld to transfer large numbers of prisoners in Guantánamo back to their countries of origin, and other tales … Continue reading “False Victories in the War on Terror”

Going to War With the Army You Have

“‘If you look back over the last year, we estimate we have killed or captured about 15,000 people as part of this counter-insurgency,’ [Gen. George] Casey, the only four-star American general in Iraq, told reporters.” (Jan. 26, 2005) “[Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard] Myers said getting an accurate count of insurgents is difficult. ‘I’d say … Continue reading “Going to War With the Army You Have”

Attacking Iran: I Know It Sounds Crazy, But…

Here’s the strange thing. In the decade that followed the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, nuclear weapons more or less disappeared from American sight – despite a near-nuclear war in South Asia, despite the fact that the U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals continued to sit in place without particular justification or obvious “mission.” Those potentially … Continue reading “Attacking Iran: I Know It Sounds Crazy, But…”

The Emperor’s Potemkin Visits

“The great motorcade,” wrote Canadian correspondent Don Murray, “swept through the streets of the city… The crowds … but there were no crowds. George W. Bush’s imperial procession through Europe took place in a hermetically sealed environment. In Brussels it was, at times, eerie. The procession containing the great, armor-plated limousine (flown in from Washington) … Continue reading “The Emperor’s Potemkin Visits”

Pyongyang Waits for Spring

If you go back to its Nuclear Posture Review of 2001 and its National Security Strategy of 2002, the Bush administration was then keen to posit an American-dominated globe until the end of time. According to those documents, such domination would involve allowing neither potential military rivals, nor rival military blocs, nor “rogue” regional powers … Continue reading “Pyongyang Waits for Spring”

Rummy Dropped From the Loop?

Update: In my nominations for the TomDispatch Political Comedy Awards of 2005, I suggested that the Bush administration, rejected by several top choices in its search for a director of national intelligence and evidently desperate, had “hit on what was clearly a brilliant scheme: Just look for someone who had a post already so nightmarish, … Continue reading “Rummy Dropped From the Loop?”

The Kings of Black Comedy

Thursday the news came in. The position of director of national intelligence (DNI), insisted upon by the 9/11 Commission, was finally filled. Shopped around for weeks unsuccessfully, it had already been rejected by former CIA Director Robert Gates, former Senator Sam Nunn, and former Attorney General William Barr because, though the DNI will officially preside … Continue reading “The Kings of Black Comedy”