Iraq and the Elephant

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

No End in Sight

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

Memorial Day, Confederate Ancestors, and Shot Doors

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

Things We Have All Known

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

Advice to Americans on Iraq

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

The Question They Should Have Asked

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