On Tuesday, a group of Islamic militants that were thrown out of al-Qaeda for being too violent took over Iraq's second largest city.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (abbreviated as ISIS) kicked the Iraqi Army out of Mosul, a wealthy city in northwestern Iraq. Today, ISIS secured another northern city, Tikrit. It currently controls an area "the size of Belgium," according to Jason Lyall, a Yale University political scientist who studies insurgencies. [more inside]
Soldiers involved in the "Collateral Murder" video
have come forward to tell their story
. [more inside]
For quite some time, I’d wanted to make a screwball comedy. A fast-talking, wildly acclerating ensemble comedy that gets stupider and stupider. I never imagined it would be about a war, and inspired by a very recent war at that. But Simon, Jesse, Tony and I all felt that the more we found out about the dysfunction in Washington and the naivety in London leading up to the Iraq invasion, the more obvious it was that the only way to deal accurately and fairly with this topic was as a screwball comedy.
- The Oscar nominated script for In The Loop
, with an introduction by writer Armando Iannucci.
- Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator
George Piro pretty fascinating.
Clinton White House Spokesman Joe Lockhart does stand-up. Text
, or if you prefer there is some audio
at the 51min mark from This American Life.
The Semiwarriors: By creating an atmosphere of perpetual crisis, Presidents have expanded their powers and hidden their actions from the public eye.
A recent essay by retired Army lieutenant Colonel and current Boston University professor of international relations Andrew J. Bacevich
, on "semiwar," a term coined after World War II "to promote permanent quasi mobilization as the essential response to permanent global crisis." Bacevich is the author of The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War
(previously discussed here
). Tragically, Bacevich's own son
, an Army First Lieutenant, was killed on patrol in Iraq two days ago by an IED
is an Iraqi-American who was born in Najaf
. He left Iraq in the late 70's to teach, first to the UAE, and then to Germany. In 1986, he moved to the US, where he eventually opened Sinbad's, a successful restaurant. In late 2003, he went back to Iraq after learning his mother had died. Upon his return to the US, he could not stop thinking about the country he left, and the state it was in, so in 2004, he sold his restaurant and moved back.
There, he founded the Muslim Peacemakers Team, based closely off of the Christian Peacemakers Team
(and in fact was a friend of Tom Fox
). He currently lives in Iraq, although comes back to visit the US every year or so, to raise awareness, visit friends, and to share news about what is really going on in Iraq. [Links to Articles, E-mails, and Interviews inside.]
Shooting War: a graphic novel by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman.
The 11-chapter first act has been lauded in Rolling Stone
and The Village Voice
. It's 2011: President McCain is fighting for political survival, America is stuck in Iraq, and there's another oil embargo. 'Vlogger' and indie icon Jimmy Burns happens to catch a terrorist attack in NYC on his web cam, making him the new face of wartime journalism.
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.
We were invited, we didn't invade.
Recent white house daily press release where Scott McClellan avoids answering direct questions. Is this history re-written before our eyes?
A dog's (or cat's) life.
It's very common in Iraq for soldiers to adopt local dogs
as mascots, such as "PFC Conner"
. Unfortunately, there are new policies in place to kill local dogs and cats
for health reasons. Often, even mascots are destroyed
, damaging morale in the process.
is a small organization that is helping to bring mascots back to the U.S. for safety, but this can cost over $1000 per mascot for shots, boarding, fees, and the plane ride back home. It's their hope to save dozens of mascots
before they are killed, but Military Mascots
may be running out of time.
, "For a justice to come." An uninterpretation.
If America were Iraq, what would it be like?
Private armies totaling 275,000 men; platoons of Christian Soldiers Militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery; the grounds of the White House constantly under mortar fire; the Secretary of State, President, and Attorney General all assassinated in the past year; and the Air Force routinely bombing Billings, Flint, Philadelphia, and parts of LA and DC to destroy "safe houses" of "criminal gangs."
Pentagon officials tell NBC News that late last year, at the same time U.S. military police were allegedly abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered that one Iraqi prisoner be held “off the books” — hidden entirely from the International Red Cross
and anyone else — in possible violation of international law.
Eric Alterman on Abu Ghraib and the media.
Alterman: And how pathetic is it that the only cable network really grappling with the media's failure is Comedy Central
? Let's give the last word to the Daily Show's incomparable Stephen Colbert: "The journalists I know love America, but now all anybody wants to talk about is the bad journalists--the journalists that hurt America.... Who didn't uncover the flaws in our prewar intelligence? Who gave a free pass on the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection? Who dropped Afghanistan from the headlines at the first whiff of this Iraqi snipe hunt? The United States press corps, that's who."
A photo journal
of a UNPA Nurse Practitioner's experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Think We Can (French) Kiss and Make Up?
Two years ago it was "I'll always love and support you
". It only took a little while, though, before the arguments began. But there are always counselors to help you work on the relationship
. There is even talk of reconciliation
. And anyway, this love-hate relationship has been going on for almost three centuries
Ready for a new religion?
Or maybe not so new. But it may explain a few things.
Rep. Henry Waxman
has written an (extensively footntoed and juicy)
open letter to President Bush demanding answers about "misrepresenting evidence" against Iraq. Waxman is unique among an ever-growing numer of pitchfork-wielders as a Congressman who had supported the war. He wrote of the use of forged evidence about alleged nuclear transactions between Niger and Iraq:
The Call to Peace.
An astrological analysis of the September 11th attacks and their aftermath. Saddam Hussein, a Muslim despot who 51% of Americans
think was personally involved in the September 11th terrorist attacks
, is charted
"If the Americans think this is success, then outright failure must be pretty horrible to behold."
something for US, British and world citizens to think about as we bang the drums for war on Iraq.
to what some anti-war protesters had to say this weekend about possible war with Iraq. Quicktime required.
America, America: I too love jeans and jazz and Treasure Island.
A poem from Saadi Youssef, published in this Saturday's Guardian (scroll down past Seamus Heaney):
Take what you do not have
and give us what we have.
Take the stripes of your flag
and give us the stars.
Take the Afghani Mujahideen beard
and give us Walt Whitman's beard filled with
Take Saddam Hussein
and give us Abraham Lincoln
or give us no one.
was born in 1934 near Basra, Iraq. He is considered to be among the greatest living Arab poets. Youssef has published 25 volumes of poetry, a book of short stories, a novel, four volumes of essays, a memoir, and numerous translations. In addition to being imprisoned for his poetry and politics, he has won numerous literary awards and recognitions. He now lives in London. [more inside]
War With Iraq - As Predictable As Chess
There is still a good chance we can avoid war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein has never won a war, and his military forces surely foresee their own destruction. Numerous assassination attempts by them (some involving the Republican Guard) have failed. They are likely trying again, even now. Therein lies our best hope.
What if they fail again? Then invasion by the U.S. is inevitable.
As it turns out, Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein were buddies back in the day