For me, the current Iraq fiasco is tied to an incident in northern Togo on August 2, 1990, though through a connection of media and coincidence, nothing more. The two events become a single, sustained note, a “punctum”—as Roland Barthes might have called it—as opposed to the “studium" of our general, fleeting perception. What happened … Continue reading Iraq and the Elephant
I just got back from seeing No End in Sight, the new movie about the occupation in Iraq.Though it won't tell anything new to any of us who have been appalled by this war and occupation since before it began, this may be an important film--even something of a watershed.Sure, most of the population of … Continue reading No End in Sight
Yesterday, The New York Times published a piece by ‘guest columnist’ Roger Cohen of The International Herald Tribune entitled “The Long View in Iraq.” If I were inclined towards paranoia, I might believe it to be the result of a secret decision to convince Americans that we are going to be in Iraq for decades, … Continue reading Whaddya Think We Are, Stupid?
It’s Memorial Day tomorrow, and I want to stop for a moment and remember. We are all the children of survivors of some sort… and we often remember them. But the ones who died? The ones who never returned to have children or the lives they must have longed for? They are the ones Memorial … Continue reading Memorial Day, Confederate Ancestors, and Shot Doors
‘Bush would veto anything with limits. What else could we do?’Wrong question, Democrats. What could Bush do, if you refused to fund this occupation?Why not look at it this way:By funding continuation of the occupation, what are you doing to the American military?You are condemning more of our soldiers to death (not to mention all … Continue reading For the Troops
Three things, this week—a television show, a newspaper article, and a book—have brought home to me once again just how appalling the U.S. failure in Iraq has been, how duplicitous, how poorly planned, and how ignorant. Incredibly, there are still those who support U.S. presence in Iraq, even going so far as to argue the … Continue reading Things We Have All Known
Black fool, why winter here? These frozen skies,Worn by your wings and deafen'd by your cries,Should warn you hence, where milder suns invite,And day alternates with his mother night. These words were written by my great-great-great-great-great uncle, Joel Barlow just before he died trying to deliver an American treaty to Napoleon during the retreat from … Continue reading Advice to Americans on Iraq
In his book A History of Warfare (New York: Knopf, 1993), John Keegan writes of the position of Carl von Clauswitz, whose On War remains a key work to many of the thinkers influencing the foreign and military policies of the United States government. But, as Keegan demonstrates, Clauswitz was:even in his time an isloated … Continue reading Warrior Culture
Many of those who supported the invasion of Iraq, such as Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institute who made the statement today on Public Radio’s Radio Times, say it was a ‘close call.’ Given the information they were provided, the argument goes, it appeared that something did have to be done about Saddam Hussein. After … Continue reading The Question They Should Have Asked
So says Robert Gates, speaking on Iraq his first day as Secretary of Defense. Thing is, failure is no longer an option, a possibility, or any other part of the future.Failure has happened. The question now is what to do about it.It’s a failure that cannot be blamed on the lack of will of the … Continue reading "We Simply Cannot Afford to Fail"