Deconstructing Iraq: Year Three Begins

A Little Background Music Shakar Odai, the head of the Internal Affairs Department of the Baghdad police, was recently interviewed by David Enders of Mother Jones magazine, who wrote: “‘More than 98’ percent of the police officers (a force known alike for its use of torture and its widespread corruption) returned to work after the … Continue reading “Deconstructing Iraq: Year Three Begins”

Playing the Democracy Card

Have we really almost rolled around – yet again – to the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, this time amid much Bush administration and neocon self-congratulation, as well as media congratulations (grudging or otherwise) for an Iraqi-election-inspired spread of democracy in the Middle East? And what will we be congratulating ourselves on next year, … Continue reading “Playing the Democracy Card”

Coming to Terms With China

In our media lives, Asia plays a remarkably small and fragmented role, given its growing importance in the world. In our press, coverage of Asia is a strange jumble of alarums, fears, and trends: the North Korean bomb, avian flu and SARS, the tsunami, the Taiwan “war bill,” the growth of the Chinese Navy, anime … Continue reading “Coming to Terms With China”

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”

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”