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”

Kashmir’s Untouched Village

I met Muzamil Jaleel, the Kashmir Bureau Chief for the Indian Express, last spring while teaching at the University of California (Berkeley) Graduate School of Journalism. He was on a brief leave from his civil-war-torn land, but every passing story he happened to tell about his life spoke of the carnage he had left behind. … Continue reading “Kashmir’s Untouched Village”

Winners and Losers in Iraq

Here were a few headlines from yesterday’s papers: “Bush Urges Congress Join Him on Budget Cuts” (Reuters); “President Offers Budget Proposal With Broad Cuts” (New York Times); “Bush Spending Plan Hits Social Programs” (Boston Globe); “Bush: Budget Cuts Part of Broader Economic Agenda” (Los Angeles Times); “Bush’s Budget Cuts Would Fall Near Main Street” (Christian … Continue reading “Winners and Losers in Iraq”

Resisting the Homeland Security State

Okay, under the rubric of “the war on terror” (which turns out to be just so versatile, so useful for so many much-desired but once back-burner policies, programs, and products), the military is having a grand old time protecting us from the Enemy up close and personal, right in our own, previously unlawful-to-occupy backyards. But, … Continue reading “Resisting the Homeland Security State”

The Emergence of the Homeland Security State

Since ancient Rome, imperial republics have invariably felt a tension between cherished republican practices at home and distinctly unrepublican ones abroad; or put another way, if imperial practices spread far enough beyond the republic’s borders and gain enough traction out there in the imperium, sooner or later they also make the reverse journey home, and … Continue reading “The Emergence of the Homeland Security State”

The Iraq Election: Another Dead End?

In the United States, the long-awaited Jan. 30 Iraqi election, assessed below by Dilip Hiro, might be labeled the “until” election or, more recently, the “in-the-days-before” election. Since “sovereignty” was turned over to the interim Iraqi government last June (a previous “until” event), American officials have been predicting – and American press and TV reports … Continue reading “The Iraq Election: Another Dead End?”