American Gothic: Self-Portrait With Shackles

Here we are, because time has some of the qualities of a tsunami, deposited in 2005, whether we like it or not. As the year changed, nature trumped the Bush administration in an appropriately, if horrifyingly Biblical, way, with a preemptive strike against shorelines jammed with rich tourists and poor peasants alike. And even in … Continue reading “American Gothic: Self-Portrait With Shackles”

In the Zone With GI Joe

You come out of the subway at Times Square across the street from the Gap and catty-corner to ESPN Zone, walk past the Drug Enforcement Agency’s temporary museum (“Freedom is … Drug Free!”) with its “Target America: Drug Traffickers, Terrorists, and You” show, stroll past the New York Police Department’s office, its name outlined in … Continue reading “In the Zone With GI Joe”

The Fallujan Dystopia

A week after the assault on Fallujah began in early November, our military announced that the city had been secured – at the cost of a thousand or more dead Iraqis and 51 American soldiers. Articles about the "reconstruction" of Fallujah soon began appearing in our papers and tales of fighting fell away. You had … Continue reading “The Fallujan Dystopia”

Giving the Gift of War

For the Pentagon, Xmas is an everyday affair. And the wonderful thing – for those who make its presents – is that there’s never a December 26th. Unlike the rest of us, the Pentagon, which evidently doesn’t keep its sales slips, never rushes to its nearest arms manufacturer and returns that crush of unwanted or … Continue reading “Giving the Gift of War”

Icarus Over Iraq: The Miracle of a Single Haasen Hand Grenade

The human imagination is quicker off the mark than any six-gun, bomb, or JDAM missile. Long before humans made it into airplanes, whole cities were being destroyed from the air – in an avalanche of popular fiction. By the late 19th century London had gone down in flames more than once and New York soon … Continue reading “Icarus Over Iraq: The Miracle of a Single Haasen Hand Grenade”

Iran: Even Paranoids Have Enemies

Sometimes it helps just to open an atlas and stare for a few moments. I did so this morning, checking out the Southwestern Asia map (#98) of the National Geographic Atlas of the World (a handsome volume, by the way). And what you see on the page is something simple indeed, and yet I could … Continue reading “Iran: Even Paranoids Have Enemies”

Which War Is This Anyway?

“Every country and every people has a stake in the … resistance, for the freedom fighters … are defending principles of independence that form the basis of global security and stability.” “The war … was in itself criminal, a criminal adventure. This crime cost the lives of about a million [people], a war of destruction … Continue reading “Which War Is This Anyway?”

A Worthless Intelligence Agency

It’s well known that Washington was originally built on a pestilential swamp. Right now, the Bush administration is in the process of draining its own “swamp” of potential critics and doubters of any sort and installing “family” members, many from George’s (and Karl’s) old Texas days, others “adoptees” like Condoleezza Rice, ever more firmly in … Continue reading “A Worthless Intelligence Agency”

Draining the Swamp

“‘We didn’t go in with a plan. We went in with a theory,’ said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy… The Bush administration’s failure to plan to win the peace in Iraq was the product of many of the same problems that plagued the administration’s case for war, including … Continue reading “Draining the Swamp”