9-11 twenty years later: the rubble called ‘national unity’

A year ago a sociopath gave confused orders from the White House that made sense only to those who understood his bottomless narcissism. American troops remained in Afghanistan. COVID’s summer wave had crested. Iraq — well. Less than two months before a presidential election in which betting on the comfort of incumbency seemed to someContinue reading “9-11 twenty years later: the rubble called ‘national unity’”

‘It didn’t mean a goddamn thing’: Afghanistan and the failure of U.S. foreign policy

REUTERS The Good War. Remember this howler? Democrats who’d voted for the Iraq War pivoted to turning the invasion of Afghanistan a couple years earlier into the benevolent gesture, the necessity. I opposed the Iraq War with every breath of my lungs; about Afghanistan I was ambivalent, swayed by the moral finery draped over theContinue reading “‘It didn’t mean a goddamn thing’: Afghanistan and the failure of U.S. foreign policy”

The malignancy of George W. Bush

“A society that lets George W. Bush go anywhere without a shrieking Greek chorus to remind him of his body count isn’t good for much at all,” Sarah Jones writes. The wretched thing about the shrieking excrescence that rotted in the Oval Office between January 2017 and January 2020 is how living Republicans before BushContinue reading “The malignancy of George W. Bush”

Joe Biden and the Iraq War

In your weekly reminder that the GOP has suffered from brain tumors since January 1981, George W. Bush at this stage in his presidency had killed more foreigners than Donald Trump. Twenty-nine Democratic senators and eighty-one Dem representatives sided with Republican colleagues to give the president his permission slip. Among them: John Edwards, Bill Nelson,Continue reading “Joe Biden and the Iraq War”

John Bolton, welcome back

In 2016, Donald Trump raised eyebrows for calling the Iraq War a mistake, causing Jeb! Bush to blubber. The replacement for H.R. McMaster supported the war well into 2011. This 2003 article reads like a bill of indictment: In recent months, Bolton has convinced 10 other nations — including France and Germany, which opposed theContinue reading “John Bolton, welcome back”

Kill or be killed: ‘The Wall’

Using Hitchcock tactics to define the conflict between American soldiers and Iraqi resistance would have offended me more deeply if The Wall had ambition. Besides, after In the Valley of Elah, Redacted, and Lions For Lambs I’ve had my fill of swollen Hollywood prestige film rhetoric about Why We Fight. For eighty-one minutes, to the exclusionContinue reading “Kill or be killed: ‘The Wall’”

Confirming the ‘enormous crime’ of the Iraq war

Inspired by Paul Berman’s Terror and Liberalism and, I must admit, Kenneth Pollack’s The Threatening Storm, I wavered in my commitment to opposing the invasion of Iraq in 2004. An exaggerated, deluded infatuation with the span of my moral imagination consumed me; if I could get thoughtful people to praise my ability to see ManyContinue reading “Confirming the ‘enormous crime’ of the Iraq war”

‘I can defend the invasion of Iraq’

Ryan Lizza’s essential story on the calamity of Jeb Bush’s foreign policy includes cameos by many members of the Legion of Doom: Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Porter Goss, Stephen Hadley. Another nasty piece of work, Otto Reich, makes an appearance. Reich, I’m sorry to say, is a Cuban American whose most notorious sting was asContinue reading “‘I can defend the invasion of Iraq’”

‘The UK will follow our lead’

The death of outrage: A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War. The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started.Continue reading “‘The UK will follow our lead’”

The legend of the surge

Recent history is most easily forgotten. Thanks to the surge, the slaughter of Sunnis declined but without the concomitant reconciliation between the ruling groups that would have established the monopoly of violence celebrated by Hobbes. Peter Beinart recounts the broken causal links on which the GOP relies to tell its sad story about what wouldContinue reading “The legend of the surge”

‘We insist that you settle your disputes with Kuwait nonviolently’

The late Christopher Hitchens wrote an account of the absurd, hilarious shadowplay in which the United States and Iraq entertained one another in the summer of 1990. This led eventually to Saddam Hussein’s decision to invade Kuwait. Months after rebuking another former client named Manuel Noriega, George H.W. Bush said, “This will not stand,” readContinue reading “‘We insist that you settle your disputes with Kuwait nonviolently’”