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”

A Less Super Superpower

There is a bleak wondrousness to this American world of ours. The Bush administration, after all, loathes fundamentalists – those dangerous fanatics in strange lands with bizarre medieval belief systems, who wish us such ill and are more than ready to go to some twisted paradise to prove their fervor – except, of course, for … Continue reading “A Less Super Superpower”

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”

Driving a Flattened Iraq

In October 2003, the TV series Frontline did a show from Iraq, “Truth, War, and Consequences,” that featured a remarkable scene shot the previous April, not long after American troops arrived in Baghdad. A group of GIs have captured some Iraqis whom they accuse of stealing wood. As an instant punishment in the “Wild West” … Continue reading “Driving a Flattened Iraq”

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”