Iraq: The War of the Imagination.
"Anyone seeking to understand what has become the central conundrum of the Iraq war—how it is that so many highly accomplished, experienced, and intelligent officials came together to make such monumental, consequential, and, above all, obvious mistakes, mistakes that much of the government knew very well at the time were mistakes—must see beyond what seems to be a simple rhetoric of self-justification and follow it where it leads: toward the War of Imagination that senior officials decided to fight in the spring and summer of 2002 and to whose image they clung long after reality had taken a sharply separate turn." By Mark Danner
. [Via Tomdispatch.]
posted by homunculus
on Nov 23, 2006 -
Prisoners of their Bureaus--the Besieged Press of Baghdad
What it's like to be a journalist in Iraq now--and especially relevant given the current attacks on the media
for not reporting all the good that's happening in Iraq-- ...
an ever-widening gulf between official language and the reality of the actual situation in Baghdad. While official language is relentlessly upbeat, the already nightmarish reality has been getting worse with each passing day. ... the insurgent attacks on the US forces and Iraqi government and the sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites have become destructive beyond what most journalists have been able to convey ...
(NY Review of Books)
posted by amberglow
on Mar 25, 2006 -
A lapsed neocon speaks out: The problem with neoconservatism's agenda lies not in its ends, which are as American as apple pie, but rather in the overmilitarized means by which it has sought to accomplish them.... After the fall of the Soviet Union, various neoconservative authors like Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol and Robert Kagan suggested that the United States would use its margin of power to exert a kind of "benevolent hegemony" over the rest of the world, fixing problems like rogue states with W.M.D., human rights abuses and terrorist threats as they came up. Writing before the Iraq war, Kristol and Kagan considered whether this posture would provoke resistance from the rest of the world, and concluded, "It is precisely because American foreign policy is infused with an unusually high degree of morality that other nations find they have less to fear from its otherwise daunting power." ... We are fighting hot counterinsurgency wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and against the international jihadist movement, wars in which we need to prevail. But "war" is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings. Meeting the jihadist challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims around the world.
posted by caddis
on Feb 18, 2006 -
It seems increasingly more likely that Saddam Hussein's regime was getting kickbacks
from the Australian Wheat Board
and, worse still, the Australian Government may have known about it
. This major scandal is causing big headaches for the Australian Government and is emerging as a diplomatic sore point between the US and one of its strongest Iraq War allies. The Australian Opposition is calling for the official inquiry into the matter, the Cole Inquiry, to be widened
, whilst in the US, several US senators
including Norm Coleman
and Patty Murray
are demanding answers whilst simultaneously calling for a ban on Australian wheat. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000
on Feb 1, 2006 -
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win: SDS is reborn.
Founded in 1959 and imploded ten tumultous years later, the Students for Democratic Society was one of the most dynamic and controversial
forces at work in organizing a mass movement against the Vietnam war, particularly among draft-age kids. The group's original manifesto, Tom Hayden's Port Huron statement
, still rings prophetic in Bush's
America. Now SDS is relaunching and planning its first national convention since 1969
, with a new crew of young radicals issuing calls to action
to their own supposedly apathetic generation: "We seek liberation from the dominant business interests that have degraded our cities, paved over our communities, drowned out small business, and commodified our culture... Cooperative self-reliance is the only moral and material salvation of our nation, and the only release from a system that demands each of us be an accomplice to its heinous crimes
posted by digaman
on Jan 27, 2006 -
It's not the war in Iraq that's revolutionizing the Middle East -- it's the media.
"Surprisingly, it may be this new public sphere, rather than the war in Iraq or the Bush's administration's democracy rhetoric, that does the most to promote liberalization and reform in the Arab world. " Marc Lynch, an associate professor of political science at Williams College and the (until recently) anonymous writer behind the popular blog Abu Aardvark
, talked to Mother Jones about how the new Arab public is transforming the Middle East.
posted by storybored
on Jan 21, 2006 -
In 2001 America destroyed
the Kabul offices of al-Jazeera with two smartbombs; officials said it was an accident. In 2003 America destroyed
the Baghdad offices of al-Jazeera with missiles; officials said it was an accident. Now, two British civil servants are on trial for leaking a memo revealing that Bush intended to bomb al-Jazeera... at their headquarters in allied Qatar
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Nov 22, 2005 -
- from the London Review of Books, a review of Jane Fonda’s War: A Political Biography of an Anti-war Icon
by Mary Hershberger.
So, what is the story behind Jane Fonda? You will find few people so reviled among macho warrior types. Back in the Depressingly Christian Private School (DCPS) that I went to, to hear some of the things she had been accused of you'd have thought she was the Whore of Babylon herself.
The truly interesting thing about this article isn't the discussion of the reality of Fonda's anti-war protesting measured against the myth, but as an illustration of the kind of pass-it-along info, whose truth is a matter of almost-scriptural faith, that serves as the conventional wisdom concerning the Left in the ill-educated backwaters that compose so much of our nation. This kind of thing is the political equivilent of the story of the midget who hanged himself on the set of The Wizard of Oz
Additional reading: the Snopes page on Jane Fonda
posted by JHarris
on Nov 13, 2005 -
A surprise from Al Gore:
I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.
How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?
I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.
posted by Shanachie
on Oct 6, 2005 -
In case the Downing Street Papers weren't enough:
US State Dept. documents from the National Security Archive, obtained thru a Freedom of Information Act: State Department experts warned CENTCOM before Iraq war about lack of plans for
post-war Iraq security
, Planning for post-Saddam regime change began as early as October 2001
, and ...They provide detail on each of the working groups and give the starting date for planning as October 2001.
Entire sections of a Powerpoint presentation the State Department prepared on November 1, 2002 -- including those covering "What We Have Learned So Far" and "Implications for the Real Future of Iraq" -- have been censored as still-classified information. ...
posted by amberglow
on Aug 17, 2005 -
The Still Unsolved Stoffel Affair: How Is Known – but Not Who or Why
Iraqi guerrillas calling themselves Rafidan – the Political Committee of the Mujahideen Central Command – have recently woken up and begun releasing a series of communiqués claiming to shed new light on the still unsolved deaths on December 8, 2004, of two Americans, Dale C. Stoffel, 43, whom they describe as “a CIA shadow manager in Iraq, close friend of George Bush,” and his associate Joseph J. Wemple, also 43.
posted by Postroad
on May 10, 2005 -
Leaked BBC Memo
from 2002 shows that Bush asked UK to find some justification for going to war with Iraq. Despite a "WMD capability [that] was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran". The memo says they need "a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would help with the legal justification for the use of force."
In other words, all those people who said the US/UK were just making it up to go to war were right. Anyone surprised this isn't getting any US news coverage?
posted by Brockstar
on May 7, 2005 -
Oh Wolfie! Wolfie! Invade me like you invaded Iraq!
Pegged to head the World Bank, is Wolfowitz' lover, Shaha Riza,
one of the reasons we invaded Iraq? Critics say it would be impossible for Wolfie - as he is nicknamed by Bush - to make independent decisions when his lover, who works on Middle Eastern and North African issues, is so committed to overthrowing Middle Eastern regimes.
"His womanising has come home to roost," a Washington insider said. "Paul was a foreign policy hawk long before he met Shaha but it doesn't look good to be accused of being under the thumb of your mistress."
posted by amberglow
on Mar 26, 2005 -
Freedom's Defenders or Politicians' Pawns?
No pretense of protecting Americans’ freedom went into the decision to enter into the Spanish-American War
. It was out-and-out imperialism and nothing more. Veterans of that war may have helped to liberate Cuba , Guam , Puerto Rico , and the Philippines from Spanish rule; but those same veterans then turned around and rammed the jackboot of the U. S. military into the faces of those they had just liberated. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans and Filipinos, who had thought they were being freed only to find out they had merely exchanged one colonial master for another, were killed in their own independence-from-Uncle-Sam movements. When they finally did throw off direct U. S. rule, they were then saddled with dictators of Uncle Sam’s choosing. No credit for the defense of Americans’ freedom can be granted to veterans of this war.
Compare to this: Gunning For Saddam
We report, you decide indeed...
posted by Elim
on Mar 6, 2005 -
Did the Interim Iraqi Defense Minister have these two Americans murdered for $300 million?
In the middle of a election that will decide who controls Iraq, Interim Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim Shaalan has announced that Ahmad Chalabi -- a rival candidate -- will be arrested
on 13-year-old charges
. But why now? Shaalan says Chalabi "wanted to malign the reputation of the defense ministry". How?
Shaalan claims Chalabi released documents
accusing Shaalan of being a former member of the Mokhaberat
, Saddam's intelligence service. (Shaalan claims political fraud, with the intent of silencing his claims against the Iranians
Chalabi claims that Shaalan flew $300 million in U.S. currency
to a shady businessman in Lebanon, bypassing financial controls, the public bidding process, and Iraqi government oversight.
So, how does this tie in with Stoffel and Wemple? Stoffel recently alerted senior U.S. officials
that the Iraqi Defense Ministry was involved in a kickback scheme involving a shady businessman in Lebanon and a multimillion-dollar arms deal
. Late last year, Stoffel
, a prominent Republican donor
and arms dealer, met with aides to Sen. Santorum
, R-Pa. Santorum wrote Donald Rumsfeld on Stoffel's behalf, asking him to raise the issue with Shaalan. Stoffel was later invited by the Coalition to arbitrate a solution with the Lebanese businessman. After several days, the arbitrator told the businessman to pay Stoffel -- a debt which is still unpaid. Upon leaving the base, Stoffel and Wemple were attacked and killed nearby. A video
from a previously unknown terrorist group claimed responsibility, but one expert suggests that the video may be "manufactured".
A reporter recently granted an interview with an Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman was forbidden to ask "dangerous" questions about the contract
. Stoffel and Wemple are survived by their wives and five children.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Jan 22, 2005 -
The Salvador Option
--sending Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, in imitation of our actions in El Salvador. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation.
including this: In Iraq, in fact, as in many other places where the United States has tried to train ethical armies to fight dirty wars, the Iraqi troops are tacitly expected to do what American troops won’t. A fundamental purpose of the upcoming elections on January 30 is to create democratic legitimacy for whatever extreme measures the newly organized military decides to take.
posted by amberglow
on Jan 14, 2005 -
Logistical issues threaten to undermine Iraqi elections. "I just can't see how we can hold these elections," an American consultant working with Iraqi election planners said on the condition of anonymity."
I found out about this story, btw, from someone working on the elections in Baghdad. They write:
"We've got a leak. Someone, an American, is talking to the press. And ___ is *pissed*. It's a good article, though... er, even though I'm not commenting on it. Or expressing an opinion. But if you've got any interest in these elections, you should read it."
They also cited several of the problems they are having:
"Because our meal times are regulated by (KBR), it only allows us about five hours a day . . . with our Iraqi counterparts. Iraqis bolt for home at around 3 PM to avoid being shot in the head or blown up . . . After a mortar attack, car bomb, or any other security related exercise, the US military shuts down the Iraqna mobile phone network . . . We have become the focal point for . . . everything that the Iraqi staff cannot handle . . . which includes getting people (and) equipment into the building, getting water (and) lunch for day laborers, preventing mass resignations due to salary disputes, replacing windows broken by car bombs, removing trash, cleaning toilets, fixing locks, moving (and unpacking) boxes . . . It makes it difficult to get our actual jobs done, although I have forgotten what those are."
posted by insomnia_lj
on Dec 13, 2004 -
LAWs instructions for starting criminal procedures against Bush
Today in Vancouver, Lawyers Against the War filed torture charges against George W. Bush under the Canadian Criminal Code. The charges were laid by Gail Davidson, co-chair of Lawyers against the War--LAW, under provisions enacted pursuant to the U.N. Torture Convention, ratified by both Canada and the United States. The charges concern the well known abuses of prisoners held by US Armed Forces in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The charges were accepted by the Justice of the Peace and referred for a hearing to decide whether Bush should be required to appear for trial. The Attorney General of Canada's consent is required within eight days for proceedings to continue, and the question of Bush's diplomatic immunity will have to be resolved by the court.
posted by sunexplodes
on Dec 1, 2004 -
Vice President Cheney declares the no-wmd report justifies war
. So what exactly were they going to do to us that was dangerous, think about the act? In related news, widespread genocide is a potential thought of an african government
, let's get em?
posted by omidius
on Oct 7, 2004 -
Earlier this month
, internal white house rumors were leaked saying that ideally, it'd be great to find an Al Queda suspect during the week of the Democratic National Convention, since the Democrats would likely be grabbing headlines. Sounds like some crass opportunism instead of truly protecting the republic from terrorists, doesn't it?
Well, what do you know, today this message
floated at the top of CNN.com
, more important than Kerry's keynote. Even though the guy was caught on Sunday
, we don't hear about it until today. Foxnews looks the same way
), with the Al Queda headline above Kerry's one day in the sun at Fox News. But it's all just a coincidence and we're not being played like a fiddle. Sure.
posted by mathowie
on Jul 29, 2004 -