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ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen "High Value Detainees" in CIA Custody

From the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen "High Value Detainees" in CIA Custody - This is the report in its entirety. [pdf]

From Mark Danner: US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites and The Red Cross Torture Report: What It Means [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Apr 8, 2009 - 59 comments

Three times as many killed as once thought in 50 years of conflicts, new analysis suggests.

Wars around the world have killed three times more people over the past half-century than previously estimated, a new study suggests... The researchers estimate that 5.4 million people died from 1955 to 2002 as a result of wars in 13 countries. These deaths range from 7,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 3.8 million in Vietnam. According to Obermeyer, the estimates are three times higher than those of previous reports. Data from this new study also suggests that 378,000 people worldwide died a violent death in war each year between 1985 and 1994, compared with 137,000 estimated at the time.
ABC News: Study: War Deaths Grossly Underestimated
The study: Fifty years of violent war deaths from Vietnam to Bosnia: analysis of data from the world health survey programme
Related: Measuring deaths from conflict
posted by y2karl on Jun 20, 2008 - 47 comments

Shifting Targets - The Administration’s plan for Iran by Seymour Hersh

This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants... Now the emphasis is on 'surgical' strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism... The former intelligence official added...'Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, 'You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.' But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.'
Shifting Targets by Seymour Hersh
See also 'The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing'
posted by y2karl on Oct 1, 2007 - 148 comments

1,220,580 - None Dare Call It Genocide

...These findings come from a poll released today by ORB, the British polling agency that has been tracking public opinion in Iraq since 2005. In conjunction with their Iraqi fieldwork agency a representative sample of 1,499 adults aged 18+ answered the following question: How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (ie as a result of violence rather than a natural death such as old age)?
Answer: 1,220,580
Tables pdf
FinalDeadNumbersWEIGHTED.xls
See also Poll: Civilian toll in Iraq may top 1M
See also None Dare Call It Genocide
posted by y2karl on Sep 17, 2007 - 131 comments

The Age of Disaster Capitalism

The Age of Disaster Capitalism [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Sep 12, 2007 - 124 comments

Planning for Defeat -- How should we withdraw from Iraq ?

Planning for Defeat -- How should we withdraw from Iraq ?
by George Packer
posted by y2karl on Sep 7, 2007 - 40 comments

So Iraq is over. But Iraq has not yet begun...

...The U.S. has probably not yet fully woken up to the appalling fact that, after a long period in which the first motto of its military was "no more Vietnams," it faces another Vietnam. There are many important differences, but the basic result is similar: The mightiest military in the world fails to achieve its strategic goals and is, in the end, politically defeated by an economically and technologically inferior adversary. Even if there are no scenes of helicopters evacuating Americans from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, there will surely be some totemic photographic image of national humiliation as the U.S. struggles to extract its troops. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have done terrible damage to the U.S. reputation for being humane; this defeat will convince more people around the world that it is not even that powerful. And Bin Laden, still alive, will claim another victory over the death-fearing weaklings of the West.
Iraq hasn't even begun (more within)
posted by y2karl on Jul 22, 2007 - 148 comments

Imperial Overreach: The Iraq War Is Lost

The Iraq war is lost. Of course, neither the president nor the war's intellectual architects are prepared to admit this. Nonetheless, the specter of defeat shapes their thinking in telling ways. The case for the war is no longer defined by the benefits of winning -- a stable Iraq, democracy on the march in the Middle East, the collapse of the evil Iranian and Syrian regimes -- but by the consequences of defeat. As President Bush put it, "The consequences of failure in Iraq would be death and destruction in the Middle East and here in America." Tellingly, the Iraq war's intellectual boosters, while insisting the surge is working, are moving to assign the blame for defeat. And they have already picked their target: the American people...
The Iraq War Is Lost by Peter Galbraith July 18, 2007
See also Imperial Overreach: Washington’s Dubious Strategy to Overthrow Saddam Hussein by David Isenberg November 17, 1999 (PDF)
posted by y2karl on Jul 18, 2007 - 143 comments

Study links low-level sarin gas exposure in Gulf War to brain damage

...In March 1991, a few days after the end of the gulf war, American soldiers exploded two large caches of ammunition and missiles in Khamisiyah, Iraq. Some of the missiles contained the dangerous nerve gases sarin and cyclosarin. Based on wind patterns and the size of the plume, the Department of Defense has estimated that more than 100,000 American troops may have been exposed to at least small amounts of the gases. When the roughly 700,000 deployed troops returned home, about one in seven began experiencing a mysterious set of ailments, often called gulf war illnesses, with problems including persistent fatigue, chronic headaches, joint pain and nausea. Those symptoms persist today for more than 150,000 of them, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than the number of troops exposed to the gases.
Gas May Have Harmed Troops, Scientists Say
posted by y2karl on May 17, 2007 - 45 comments

The Wrong War - Why We Lost in Vietnam

...By refusing to recognize or admit that the Vietnam War was from its inception primarily a civil war, and not part of a larger, centrally-directed international conspiracy, policymakers assumed that North Vietnam was, like the United States, waging a limited war, and therefore that it would be prepared to settle for something less than total victory (especially if confronted by military stalemate on the ground in the South and the threat of aerial bombardment of the North). In so making this assumption, policymakers not only ignored two millennia of Vietnamese history, but also excused themselves from confronting the harsh truth that civil wars are, for their indigenous participants, total wars, and that no foreign participant in someone else's civil war can possibly have as great a stake in the conflict's outcome--and attendant willingness to sacrifice--as do the indigenous parties involved.
The Wrong War - Why We Lost in Vietnam
See also Who Lost Vietnam ?
See also Vietnam in Retrospect: Could We Have Won?
posted by y2karl on Apr 18, 2007 - 77 comments

Top Secret Polo Step - Iraq War Plan Assumed Only 5,000 U.S. Troops Still There by December 2006

"It's quite frustrating the way this works, but the way we do things nowadays is combatant commanders brief their products in PowerPoint up in Washington to OSD and Secretary of Defense... In lieu of an order, or a frag [fragmentary] order, or plan, you get a set of PowerPoint slides... [T]hat is frustrating, because nobody wants to plan against PowerPoint slides." Lt. Gen. McKiernan
Top Secret Polo Step: CentCom PowerPoint Slides Briefed to White House and Rumsfeld in 2002, Obtained by National Security Archive through Freedom of Information Act.
"Desert Crossing" 1999 Assumed 400,000 Troops and Still a Mess
See also A Prewar Slide Show Cast Iraq in Rosy Hues
posted by y2karl on Feb 15, 2007 - 13 comments

Why did the press as a whole fail to question sufficiently the administration’s case for war?

As the war in Iraq nears its fourth anniversary, and with no end in sight, Americans are owed explanations. The Senate Intelligence Committee has promised a report on whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence to justify the war against Iraq. An explanation is due also for how the U.S. press helped pave the way for war. An independent and thorough inquiry of pre-war press coverage would be a public service. Not least of the beneficiaries would be the press itself, which could be helped to understand its behavior and avoid a replay.
Cranberg wants a serious probe of why the press failed in its pre-war reporting
posted by y2karl on Feb 10, 2007 - 57 comments

From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq

..."Shifting to StratCom indicates that they are talking about a really punishing air-force and naval air attack [on Iran]," says Lang. ..."If they write a plan like that and the president issues an execute order, the forces will execute it. He's got the power to do that as commander-in-chief. We set that up during the Cold War. It may, after the fact, be considered illegal, or an impeachable offense, but if he orders them to do it, they will do it." ...by the end of February the United States will have enough forces in place to mount an assault on Iran. That, in the words of former national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, would be "an act of political folly" so severe that "the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end."
From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
Stepped up US preparations for war against Iran
The United States and Iran: the logic of war
How the press can prevent another Iraq
What to Ask Before the Next War
posted by y2karl on Feb 8, 2007 - 105 comments

Three feet high and rising...

... "All the Shiites have to do is tell everyone to lay low, wait for the Americans to leave, then when they leave you have a target list and within a day they'll kill every Sunni leader in the country. It'll be called the `Day of Death' or something like that," said 1st Lt. Alain Etienne, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y. "They say, `Wait, and we will be victorious.' That's what they preach. And it will be their victory." Quinn agreed. "Honestly, within six months of us leaving, the way Iranian clerics run the country behind the scenes, it'll be the same way here with Sadr," said Quinn, 25, of Cleveland. "He already runs our side of the river."
Mahdi Army gains strength through unwitting aid of U.S.
Iraqi Interior Ministry estimates 1000 killed in one week
Northern Iraq seen as next front in war
posted by y2karl on Feb 4, 2007 - 74 comments

I am become Freeman Dyson, the destroyer of worlds

...For a week after I arrived at the ORS, the attacks on Hamburg continued. The second, on July 27, raised a firestorm that devastated the central part of the city and killed about 40,000 people. We succeeded in raising firestorms only twice, once in Hamburg and once more in Dresden in 1945, where between 25,000 and 60,000 people perished (the numbers are still debated)... Every time Bomber Command attacked a city, we were trying to raise a firestorm, but we never learnt why we so seldom succeeded.
Part I: A Failure of Intelligence  &  Part II: A Failure of Intelligence
Prominent physicist Freeman Dyson recalls the time he spent developing analytical methods to help the British Royal Air Force bomb German targets during World War II.    FYI: It's about more than just the firestorms...
posted by y2karl on Dec 8, 2006 - 24 comments

Babbling Bobster Beatnik Poetry

His fog, his amphetamines and his pearls
Lofi shot off the monitor at the recent EMP exhibit, the entire footage of an Eat The Document outtake recently edited by Martin Scorcese for No Direction Home.

I don't entirely get the Chaplinesque--To paraphrase crunchland, Hey, Skeezix--it's a talkie...
posted by y2karl on Oct 27, 2006 - 31 comments

Game Over

...Iraq may have started as a war of choice for the Bush administration, but it has become a war of great and unintended consequences. Immense risks lurk down every strategic road. Given the fractured state of the American body politic, it is almost certainly too late to rally the country behind an all-out war effort -- think tax increases; a war Cabinet; a full mobilization of the National Guard and the Reserves; a civilian reconstruction corps; a larger Army and Marine Corps; longer combat tours for troops; mandatory combat-zone deployments for U.S. diplomats and aid officials; a return to national service; and possibly even a limited draft. Yet absent a plan that puts the nation on either an all-out wartime footing or the firm path to retreat, the United States is largely condemned to some tweaked-around-the-edges variation of the administration's current approach on Iraq of "muddle through and hand over." And America, the experts agree, is already losing that war.
Endgame
posted by y2karl on Oct 21, 2006 - 60 comments

Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War: Deaths in Iraq: How Many, and Why It Matters

...Would it surprise you to learn that if the Johns Hopkins estimates of 400,000 to 800,000 deaths are correct -- and many experts in the survey field seem to suggest they probably are -- that the supposedly not-yet-civil-war in Iraq has already cost more lives, per capita, than our own Civil War (one in 40 of all Iraqis alive in 2003) ? And that these losses are comparable to what some European nations suffered in World War II ? You'd never know it from mainstream press coverage in the U.S. "Everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied," Leonard Cohen once sang. The question the new study raises: How many will go down with the ship, and will the press finally hold the captain fully accountable ?
Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War -- But Will the Press Confirm It ?
See also Debating the Body Count in Iraq
See also Deaths in Iraq: how many, and why it matters
See also The Science of Counting the Dead
See also How the Media Covered The Lancet’s Iraqi Casualty Study
See also More deadly than Saddam
posted by y2karl on Oct 19, 2006 - 80 comments

Gabriel Kolko - Lessons From Iraq and Lebanon & Another Century of War ?

...The United States, whose costliest political and military adventures since 1950 have ended in failure, now must face the fact that the technology for confronting its power is rapidly becoming widespread and cheap. It is within the reach of not merely states but of relatively small groups of people. Destructive power is now virtually 'democratized.' If the challenges of producing a realistic concept of the world that confronts the mounting dangers and limits of military technology seriously are not resolved soon, recognizing that a decisive equality of military power is today in the process of being re-imposed, there is nothing more than wars and mankind’s eventual destruction to look forward to.
The Great Equalizer - Lessons From Iraq and Lebanon
By Gabriel Kolko, author of Century of War: Politics, Conflicts, and Society Since 1914,
The Age of War: The United States Confronts the World
and Another Century of War?
posted by y2karl on Sep 5, 2006 - 20 comments

Mindless In Iraq - What Next ?

The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war. Indeed, the only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into total Bosnia-like devastation is 135,000 U.S. troops -- and even they are merely slowing the fall... The consequences of an all-out civil war in Iraq could be dire. Considering the experiences of recent such conflicts, hundreds of thousands of people may die. Refugees and displaced people could number in the millions. And with Iraqi insurgents, militias and organized crime rings wreaking havoc on Iraq's oil infrastructure, a full-scale civil war could send global oil prices soaring even higher... Welcome to the new "new Middle East" -- a region where civil wars could follow one after another, like so many Cold War dominoes. And unlike communism, these dominoes may actually fall.
What Next?
See also Mindless in Iraq
And note that, as of tomorrow, Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006, the war in Iraq will have lasted one full week longer than US involvement in World War II.
posted by y2karl on Aug 21, 2006 - 52 comments

Watching Lebanon by Seymour M. Hersh: Washington’s interests in Israel’s war

In the days after Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel, on July 12th, to kidnap two soldiers, triggering an Israeli air attack on Lebanon and a full-scale war, the Bush Administration seemed strangely passive... The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.
Test Case
posted by y2karl on Aug 13, 2006 - 78 comments

Iraq Civil War News: Iraqi Civilian Death Toll Rises Above 100 Per Day

Iraqi Death Toll Rises Above 100 Per Day, U.N. Says
Baghdad starts to collapse as its people flee a life of death
Iraq : Costs, quotes and other things
posted by y2karl on Jul 19, 2006 - 102 comments

Stabbed In The Back: The Birth of a Legend

Every state must have its enemies. Great powers must have especially monstrous foes. Above all, these foes must arise from within, for national pride does not admit that a great nation can be defeated by any outside force. That is why, though its origins are elsewhere, the stab in the back has become the sustaining myth of modern American nationalism. Since the end of World War II it has been the device by which the American right wing has both revitalized itself and repeatedly avoided responsibility for its own worst blunders. Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies.
Stabbed in the Back !
posted by y2karl on Jul 15, 2006 - 36 comments

The Last Stand - See also Iran: Consequences Of A War

Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and officials. The generals and admirals have told the Administration that the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States. A crucial issue in the military’s dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners are not sure what to hit. “The target array in Iran is huge, but it’s amorphous,” a high-ranking general told me. “The question we face is, When does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?” The high-ranking general added that the military’s experience in Iraq, where intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed, has affected its approach to Iran. “We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq,” he said.
The Last Stand
See also Iran: war by October?
See also The countdown to war
See also Iran: Consequences Of A War
posted by y2karl on Jul 2, 2006 - 62 comments

Why We Lost In Iraq: The Language of Noncombatant Death

The Language of Noncombatant Death - Perhaps, however, what the "incidents" have in common -- and what they really tell us about the war in Iraq (as in Vietnam long ago) -- is this: In both Haditha and Ishaqi, the dead were largely or all civilian noncombatants: an aged amputee in a wheelchair holding a Koran, small children, grandparents, students, women, and a random taxi driver all died... In modern wars, especially those conducted in part from the air (as both Iraq and Afghanistan have been), there's nothing "collateral" about civilian deaths. If anything, the "collateral deaths" are those of the combatants on any side. Civilian deaths are now the central fact, the very essence of war. Not seeing that means not seeing war.
Collateral Damage: The "Incident at Haditha"
The Power Point version: Why Did We Lose In Iraq ?
posted by y2karl on Jun 8, 2006 - 63 comments

Dishonor, Blood and Treasure - By The Numbers

Two years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, new research shows that abuse of detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantánamo Bay has been widespread, and that the United States has taken only limited steps to investigate and punish implicated personnel. A briefing paper issued today, 'By the Numbers,' presents findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project... the first comprehensive accounting of credible allegations of torture and abuse in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. The project has collected hundreds of allegations of detainee abuse and torture occurring since late 2001 – allegations implicating more than 600 U.S. military and civilian personnel and involving more than 460 detainees.
U.S.: More Than 600 Implicated in Detainee Abuse

See also Projected Iraq War Costs Soar, See also The Trillion Dolllar War.
posted by y2karl on Apr 27, 2006 - 110 comments

Challenge Bigger than Iraq: Defeat or a Widening War -- or Both?

...Consider the stunning magnitude of the failure. Iraq has been the top priority for the world's only superpower for the past three years, and a central one for many regional and international powers. The United States, intent on keeping Iraq together, has spent more resources in that country than any state ever has spent on another in the history of the world... In this perspective, one central measure of success of the intervention in Iraq is this: Three years later, have the prospects of regional and global security increased or decreased? The answer should propel a debate that's bigger than Iraq.
Challenge Bigger than Iraq
See also Defeat or a Widening War -- or Both?
posted by y2karl on Apr 9, 2006 - 60 comments

The Fourth Year of An Endless War Begins

From on the ground in Iraq, with death squads on the prowl in a nation paralysed by fear, with each mile, the divisions deepen. Some suggest Iraq is about to look a lot like Lebanon. Others think we should be so lucky, that what looms is much worse than mere civil war: an archipegalo of complete and total anarchy, the war of all against all.

As the saying goes, even a blind squirrel may find an acorn now and then, especially one planetary in size--like here: predictions of a better Middle East have evaporated.
posted by y2karl on Mar 20, 2006 - 108 comments

A Government with No Military and No Territory : Disintegrating Iraqi Sovereignty

At this point in Iraq, you do not have a central government -- so you don't have a legitimate authority running the country. You don't have a government with the power to establish or maintain order. What you have is a nominal government that can only stay in power because the Americans are there. The government is supposed to have derived legitimacy from the constitution and the elections. It is now almost three months after the elections and there is still no government... A government that takes over five months to form is not a government that is going to have very much legitimacy in the end. The country has already collapsed. Now the challenge is figuring out a way to deal with this fact...
"The Country Has Already Collapsed"
Remember Beirut? Welcome to Baghdad
A Government with No Military and No Territory
Studies of the Iraq Disaster: When Democracy Looks Like Civil War
posted by y2karl on Mar 10, 2006 - 127 comments

The Ongoing Iraqi Civil War To Date

Civil war. Surely this is an adjectival misnomer of the first rank. Of all of the various types of war, civil war -- that is, a violent conflict waged between opposing sides within a society -- has generally been the least mannerly and the most savage... By just about every meaningful standard that can be applied -- the reference points of history, the research criteria of political science, the contemporaneous reporting of on-the-ground observers, the grim roll of civilian and combatant casualties -- Iraq is now well into the bloody sequence of civil war. Dispense with the tentative locution "on the verge of." An active, if not full-boil, civil war is already a reality.
Shattering Iraq
See also Iraq: see no evil, hear no evil
Iran gaining influence, power in Iraq through militia
Bush's Strategy, Iraq's New Army Challenged by Ethnic Militias
Outside View: Iraq's Grim Lessons   More Inside
posted by y2karl on Dec 14, 2005 - 93 comments

Why Iraq Has No Army

America's hopes today for an orderly exit from Iraq depend completely on the emergence of a viable Iraqi security force. There is no indication that such a force is about to emerge. As a matter of unavoidable logic, the United States must therefore choose one of two difficult alternatives: It can make the serious changes including certain commitments to remain in Iraq for many years that would be necessary to bring an Iraqi army to maturity. Or it can face the stark fact that it has no orderly way out of Iraq, and prepare accordingly.
Why Iraq Has No Army   [pdf]
via Small Wars Center of Excellence, an Official Marine Corps Web Site
See also Why the Strong Lose   [pdf]   More Inside
posted by y2karl on Dec 5, 2005 - 151 comments

Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War - Martin van Creveld

For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.
Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War
Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, is author of "Transformation of War" (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers.
An interview with Martin Van Creveld. See also Nowhere To Run
posted by y2karl on Nov 29, 2005 - 73 comments

Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War

...After the raid, an Iraqi informer walked among detainees, pointing them out to U.S. troops. Despite being disguised with a bag over his head, the informer was recognized by his fellow villagers by his yellow sandals and his amputated thumb. His name was Sabah. ...The next day, his father and brother, carrying AK-47s, entered his room before dawn and took him behind the house. With trembling hands, the father fired twice... Sabah's brother then fired three times, once at his brother's head, killing him. Sitting with the father later, Shadid found himself unable to ask the question he knew that as a journalist he had to ask: Had he killed his son? "In a moment so tragic, so wretched, there still had to be decency. I didn't want to hear him say yes. I didn't want to humiliate him any further. In the end, I didn't have to." "'I have the heart of a father, and he's my son,' he told me, his eyes cast to the ground. 'Even the prophet Abraham didn't have to kill his son.' He stopped, steadying his voice. 'There was no other choice.'"

What went wrong That's from the Salon review of Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War by Anthony Shadid [+]
posted by y2karl on Sep 16, 2005 - 15 comments

The Smash of Civilizations

'...Today, such famous sites as the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, the ziggurat at Ur, the temple precinct at Babylon, and a ninth-century spiral minaret at Samarra have been scarred by violence, while equally important ancient sites, particularly in the southern provinces, are being ravaged by looters who work day and night to fuel an international art market hungry for antiquities. Historic districts in urban areas have also suffered from vandalism, looting, and artillery fire. In response to such widespread damage and continuing threats to our collective cultural heritage and the significance of the sites at risk, World Monument Fund has taken the unprecedented step of including the entire country of Iraq on its 2006 list of 100 Most Endangered Sites.'
The 2003- Iraq War & Archaeology
The Smash of Civilizations
posted by y2karl on Jul 8, 2005 - 11 comments

Then and Now: Truth and spin on Iraq

To be successful, an occupation such as that contemplated after any hostilities in Iraq requires much detailed interagency planning, many forces, multi-year military commitment, and a national commitment to nation-building... To conduct their share of the essential tasks that must be accomplished to reconstruct an Iraqi state, military forces will be severely taxed in military police, civil affairs, engineer, and transportation units, in addition to possible severe security difficulties. The administration of an Iraqi occupation will be complicated by deep religious, ethnic, and tribal differences which dominate Iraqi society. U.S. forces may have to manage and adjudicate conflicts among Iraqis that they can barely comprehend. An exit strategy will require the establishment of political stability, which will be difficult to achieve given Iraq's fragmented population, weak political institutions, and propensity for rule by violence.

From the US Army War College in February 2003: Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario  (PDF). From June 2005, Anthony Cordesman's analysis of factual misstatements in the President's recent address: Truth and spin on Iraq. Foresight is 20/20. Irresponsibility and mendacity are timeless.
posted by y2karl on Jun 30, 2005 - 44 comments

Iraq War Fatalities - The Next Iconic Web Animation

Iraq War Fatalities is a chart of US and coalition military fatalities that have occurred in the War in Iraq since the onset, mapped across the dimensions of time and space. It is an ongoing project that is updated regularly, and will continue to go on as long as the war does. The animation runs at ten frames per second--one frame for each day--and a single black dot indicates the geographic location that a US fatality occurred. Each dot starts as a white flash and a larger red dot that fades to black over the span of 30 frames/days, and then slowly fades to grey over the span of the entire war. Accompanying the visual representation is a soft 'tic' sound for each fatality, the volume of which increases relative to the number of fatalities that occurred simultaneously that day. More deaths in a smaller area produces visually deeper reds and audibly more pronounced 'tics.'

Iraq War Fatalities   (via Bop News)
posted by y2karl on Jun 25, 2005 - 100 comments

Risk-transfer militarism, small massacres and the historic legitimacy of war

In this paper, I will first consider the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as the latest examples of the new Western way of war, and analyse their casualties alongside those of previous campaigns in the Gulf and Kosovo. I shall identify the new type as “risk-transfer war,” a central feature of which is a “militarism of small massacres.” I shall argue that this new type thus offers only a partial answer to the problems, for the legitimacy of warfare, caused by the systematic targeting of civilians in earlier “degenerate war.” Despite a closer approximation to “just war” criteria, the application of which the new mode I shall discuss, inequalities of risk between Western military personnel and civilians in the zone of war revive the question of legitimacy in a new form. The paper then suggests that in our concern for relatively small numbers of civilian casualties, we may be applying to war standards from which it has historically been exempt. In this context, I shall conclude by proposing that the contradictions of the new Western way of war reinforce a 'historical pacifist' position towards the general legitimacy of warfare.

Risk-transfer Militarism and the Legitimacy of War after Iraq
From JustWarTheory.com, which has its own blog.
posted by y2karl on Jun 22, 2005 - 18 comments

Feeding The Insurgency: Public relations and The War That Cannot Be Won

An examination of Iraqi public opinion data and interviews suggests that coalition military activity may be substantially contributing to Iraqi discontent and opposition. A 'vicious circle' is indicated, whereby actions to curtail the insurgency feed the insurgency. Public discontent is the water in which the insurgents swim. Polls show that a large majority of Iraqis have little faith in coalition troops and view them as occupiers, not liberators. There is significant support for attacks on foreign troops and a large majority of Iraqis want them to leave within a year.
Vicious Circle: The Dynamics of Occupation and Resistance in Iraq. For example--Marine-led offensive killed friends and foreign fighters, Iraqi leaders say. So, Is the US Recruiting for the Insurgency? See also Guantánamo Comes to Define U.S. to Muslims. Consider, too, The rising economic cost of the Iraq war--a war, which is, according to more than one, A War That Cannot Be Won ...
posted by y2karl on May 24, 2005 - 87 comments

On The New American Militarism - How Americans Are Seduced By War 2.0

At the end of the Cold War, Americans said yes to military power. The skepticism about arms and armies that pervaded the American experiment from its founding, vanished. Political leaders, liberals and conservatives alike, became enamored with military might. The ensuing affair had and continues to have a heedless, Gatsby-like aspect, a passion pursued in utter disregard of any consequences that might ensue. Few in power have openly considered whether valuing military power for its own sake or cultivating permanent global military superiority might be at odds with American principles. Indeed, one striking aspect of America's drift toward militarism has been the absence of dissent offered by any political figure of genuine stature...

The Normalization of War and New Boys in Town - The Neocon Revolution and American Militarism are two excerpts from Andrew J. Bacevich's just released The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, concerning who and which there was a previous post here.
posted by y2karl on Apr 23, 2005 - 36 comments

Regarding Blood And Oil

Whereas, in the past, national power was thought to reside in the possession of a mighty arsenal and the maintenance of extended alliance systems, it is now associated with economic dynamism and the cultivation of technological innovation. To exercise leadership in the current epoch, states are expected to possess a vigorous domestic economy and to outperform other states in the development and export of high-tech goods. While a potent military establishment is still considered essential to national security, it must be balanced by a strong and vibrant economy. 'National security depends on successful engagement in the global economy,' the Institute for National Security Studies observed in a recent Pentagon study.

Regarding Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency by Michael T. Klare, here is an excerpt from the book and here is his most recent article--Oil and the Coming War With Iran. Well, at least he has been consistent--consider The Geopolitics of War, Wars Without End, Oiling the Wheels of War, and Imperial Reach from his articles for The Nation alone. Here is an excerpt from his previous Resource Wars and here is Scraping the bottom of the barrel and Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy: Procuring the Rest of the World's Oil. Well, as to his position on current events, I don't think we need to draw a picture here.
posted by y2karl on Apr 13, 2005 - 52 comments

The future of war is thus: information technology grows no potatoes.

It is more likely than not that most of America’s enemies in the near future will continue to be at least as awkwardly and inconveniently asymmetrical as they have been over the past 15 years. However, it would be grossly imprudent to assume that they will all be led by politicians as incompetent at grand strategy as Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic. There is probably a General Aideed lurking out there, not to mention a General Giap. A no-less-troubling thought is recognition of the certainty that America’s strategic future will witness enemies initially of the second-rate, and eventually of the first... One may choose to recall the old aphorism that “unless you have fought the Germans, you don’t really know war.” That thought, though one hopes not its precise national example, holds for the future.
How Has War Changed Since the End of the Cold War?  The answer seems to be not that much at all: The truth of the matter is that war is not changing its character, let alone miraculously accomplishing the impossible and changing its nature.
posted by y2karl on Mar 15, 2005 - 8 comments

From The Never Ending Story - The Torture Papers

While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Regarding the Torture Papers, which detail Torture's Paper Trail, and, then there's Hungry for Air: Learning The Language Of Torture, and, of course, there's ( more inside)
posted by y2karl on Mar 14, 2005 - 97 comments

On The New American Militarism - How Americans Are Seduced By War

The argument I make in my book is that what I describe as the new American militarism arises as an unintended consequence of the reaction to the Vietnam War and more broadly, to the sixties... If some people think that the sixties constituted a revolution, that revolution produced a counterrevolution, launched by a variety of groups that had one thing in common: they saw revival of American military power, institutions, and values as the antidote to everything that in their minds had gone wrong. None of these groups — the neoconservatives, large numbers of Protestant evangelicals, politicians like Ronald Reagan, the so-called defense intellectuals, and the officer corps — set out saying, “Militarism is a good idea.” But I argue that this is what we’ve ended up with: a sense of what military power can do, a sort of deference to the military, and an attribution of virtue to the men and women who serve in uniform. Together this constitutes such a pernicious and distorted attitude toward military affairs that it qualifies as militarism.
An interview with Andrew Bacevich, international relations professor and former Army colonel, and author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War--and here is a review. Recently by Bacevich: We Aren't Fighting to Win Anymore - U.S. troops in Iraq are only trying to buy time.
posted by y2karl on Feb 21, 2005 - 37 comments

Lest we forget: Outsourcing Torture

Outsourcing Torture The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program.
posted by y2karl on Feb 8, 2005 - 16 comments

An Executive Order Along Torture's Path

Request for guidance regarding the OGC's EC regarding detainee abuse, referring to “interrogation techniques made lawful” by the “President's Executive Order.” comes from Records Released in Response to Torture FOIA Request.
Smoking Gun ? asks the ACLU--or just another stepping stone from Torture's Path ? As Ex-Military Lawyers Object to Bush Cabinet Nominee, and in Torture begins at the top, Joe Conason suggests that a recently disclosed FBI memo indicates that "marching orders" to abandon traditional interrogation methods came from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld himself and all the while Guantánamo torture and humiliation still going on, says shackled Briton. (more inside)
posted by y2karl on Dec 20, 2004 - 35 comments

Iraq In Transition: Vortex or Catalyst?

Iraq In Transition: Vortex or Catalyst? (PDF)
A key message of the report is that should Iraq fragment, a sectarian struggle between the Shi’a majority and Sunni minority is more likely to flare up in the context of a political breakdown. Al Qaeda and other militant Sunni groups will contribute to the polarisation between Sunnis, Shi’a and other religious groups in Iraq. A fragmented Iraq could provide a breeding ground for new militant factions, both Islamist and non-Islamist.
Press release
posted by y2karl on Sep 2, 2004 - 8 comments

Poll Shows Growing Arab Rancor at U.S

Poll Shows Growing Arab Rancor at U.S. Arab views of the United States, shaped largely by the Iraq war and a post-Sept. 11 climate of fear, have worsened in the past two years to such an extent that in Egypt -- an important ally in the region -- nearly 100 percent of the population now holds an unfavorable opinion of the country, according to two polls due out today... More within
posted by y2karl on Jul 24, 2004 - 126 comments

'Killing: the dead elephant in the living room

'Enemy Contact. Kill 'em, Kill 'em'. The Price of Valor. Invisible Casualties. The Psychological Effects of Combat. The Psychological Consequences of Killing: Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress. Soldiers, Self-Defense, and Killing in War - (PDF). Psychological and Psychosocial Consequences of Combat and Deployment with Special Emphasis on the Gulf War. Military Leaders’ Obligation to Justify Killing in War. And, from last year, come The Killer Elite, From Hell to Baghdad - The Killer Elite Part II, and The Battle for Bagdhad - The Killer Elite Part III--Evan Wright's Rolling Stone articles recently published as Generation Kill. They are well worth re-reading in this context.
posted by y2karl on Jul 21, 2004 - 51 comments

Al-Ahram's Special Edition: Iraqi Reaction to ''Transfer of Sovereignty''

On Monday, US Civil Administrator Paul Bremer handed over "sovereignty" to the Interim Government of Iraq in a furtive ceremony, two days ahead of schedule. Not the stuff that independence days are made of. How sovereign is Iraq; what kind of future does the ongoing process offer for that shattered nation; and most significantly, how can a genuinely free, democratic and prosperous Iraq be created? Al-Ahram Weekly, in these special pages, invited Iraqi journalists and intellectuals to provide some answers. via Informed Comment
posted by y2karl on Jul 2, 2004 - 10 comments

Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War

Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War
In fully footnoted PDF or handy Just The Numbers format.
Related Story: Iraq war 'will cost each US family $3,415'
posted by y2karl on Jun 27, 2004 - 77 comments

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