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Engaging the Muslim World

Engaging the Muslim World

By Juan Cole
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Tag: Iraq

‘Colbert Report’ Invades Iraq

Stephen Colbert, in a hilarious outfit, has taken his show to one of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces in Baghdad to entertain the men and women of the U.S military. Watch President Obama order Gen. Ray Odierno to give Colbert’s coif a military makeover. Update: Full videos added.

Posted on Jun 9, 2009 READ MORE


Being Obama Matters

I used to fear that the president was overestimating the power of his personal history as an instrument of foreign policy. Now I wonder if he might have been underestimating.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Hold Your Applause

We may thrill to Obama’s rhetoric, but very few of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are as deluded. They grasp that nothing so far has changed for Muslims in the Middle East under the Obama administration.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Susie Linfield on How to Think About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

A provocative new book, “One State, Two States,” by revisionist Israeli historian Benny Morris breaks a taboo by asking whether anti-Zionism has become the anti-imperialism of fools. Can his polemic act as the ax that helps break up the frozen and brittle nature of a debate over the seemingly intractable war between Palestinians and Jews?

Posted on Jun 5, 2009 READ MORE


Whither the Sacred Campaign Promise?

Historically, Americans generally held campaign promises sacred. Just ask the first President Bush. But now behavior by President Obama suggests a systemic assault on the campaign promise is under way.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Cairo Speech: Significant, Eloquent—and Perhaps Just the Beginning

Obama’s speech was distinguished by the quality of his previous major speeches, that of speaking as an adult to adults. He promised to say what he thought, and did so on all of the topics he addressed. Correction

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
uscmc.mil

U.N. Official Seeks More Clarity on Civilian Deaths

U.N. rapporteur Philip Alston called for greater disclosure and accountability for the number of civilian deaths caused by the U.S. in its overseas conflicts. He expressed “strong concern at the continuing problem of preventable civilian casualties” and demanded “real accountability based on credible independent investigations.”

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Rush and Newt Are Winning

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Petraeus
USAF / Staff Sgt. Bradley A. Lail

Replace Petraeus

Gen. David Petraeus has proven the rule that past military victories do not guarantee future success. The general has made a mess of Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet he remains dangerously popular.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
thebacon.org

Number of Private Security Contractors Increases

President Obama railed against the reliance on private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan during his campaign, but new Pentagon statistics reveal their number has steadily grown since he took office, increasing 23 percent in Iraq and 29 percent in Afghanistan in the second quarter of 2009. “Blackwater” author Jeremy Scahill investigates.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Democracy Now! News Highlights

Watch Tuesday’s news highlights, brought to you by Democracy Now! A couple of today’s golden nuggets include Jimmy Carter’s disagreement with President Obama’s refusal to release hundreds of prison detainee photos and a call from the former top coalition commander in Iraq, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, for a truth commission to investigate abusive interrogation techniques.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


laughing dick cheney
White House photo by David Bohrer

Cheney Disavows 9/11-Iraq Link

On Monday, former Veep Dick Cheney admitted at long last that there was no link between the Sept. 11 attacks and Iraq, contrary to what the Bush administration had led the nation to believe in 2003 in order to justify waging a war on a country rich in history, culture ... and oil. Tens of thousands of Iraqi and American casualties later, we thank you, Dick.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Khalid Mohammed

War Is Sin

Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Maher: America Is Greedy, Not Good

The “Real Time” host takes exception to American exceptionalism, the idea that Americans are unique and superior despite a penchant for poisoning, imprisoning and killing each other just to make a buck.

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


What Will Obama Say in Cairo?

Next week President Barack Obama travels to Cairo to deliver what is expected to be a major statement on relations between the United States and the Islamic world, but informed skeptics predict his new approach to the region will resemble the late months of the Bush administration.

Posted on May 29, 2009 READ MORE


abu graib torture
http://lefteyeonthemedia.wordpress.com/

Pentagon Denies That Prison Photos Depict Rape

The Pentagon has denied claims made by a former U.S. general that the detainee abuse photos President Obama refuses to publish depict scenes of rape and torture. The rebuttal came only hours after Britain’s Daily Telegraph published retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba’s story. “That news organization has completely mischaracterized the images,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told the press Thursday.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


Chevron, Shell and the True Cost of Oil

The economy is a shambles, unemployment is soaring, the auto industry is collapsing. But profits are higher than ever at oil companies Chevron and Shell.

Posted on May 26, 2009 READ MORE


Fresh Air Versus a Bunker

Which reality do you inhabit, Obama World or Cheney World? If it’s the latter, remember that storm clouds are always gathering. Don’t forget your umbrella.

Posted on May 26, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

‘Winter Soldier on the Hill’

Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan spoke to lawmakers on Capitol Hill this month, giving eyewitness accounts of the horrors of war and the real practices of the military. Amy Goodman devoted Monday’s “Democracy Now!” episode to these testimonials for this Memorial Day. Listen to the soldiers’ stories here.

Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE


Cheney and Bush
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Cheney and the Iraq-Torture Link

Defending their record in office these past eight years, figures from the last administration seem especially touchy on the subject of torture. Led by the former vice president, Dick Cheney, they have argued that there was no torture, preferring more vague and delicate terms such as “enhanced interrogation” or simply “the program.”

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama’s Coalition of the Unwilling

President Barack Obama dramatically changed course twice on May 13 when he announced he would not release photos of American military personnel “abusing” detainees, reversing the Pentagon’s statement on April 26 that it would comply with a court order—with the president’s own prompt and emphatic support for release.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
DefenseImagery.mil / Sgt. Edwin Bridges

U.S. Soldier Guns Down 5 Comrades

An American soldier was taken into custody after shooting five fellow military personnel to death and wounding three others in Baghdad on Monday. The incident, which occurred at a combat stress center, marks the highest single-incident death toll for the U.S. military since April.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


Gates Orders a Change of Command in Afghanistan

The Pentagon will be replacing the current top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, who has served in the position a mere 11 months. The decision comes on the heels of President Obama’s new plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan and marks a clear change in strategy in an increasingly complex war.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / Aaron Escobar™

Suicide Rates for U.S. Soldiers at Record High

As of the end of 2008, a U.S. soldier was more likely to commit suicide than an American civilian. This trend is now under investigation by the U.S. Army, which must grapple with the extent of inadequate psychological support available to soldiers coming home.

Posted on May 7, 2009 READ MORE


Prince Charles and Nouri al-Maliki
AP pool photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth

British Government Gives Iraq Story a Final Spin

“We acknowledge,” the letter says, “that violence has claimed the lives of many thousands of Iraqi civilians over the last five years, either through terrorism or sectarian violence. Any loss of innocent lives is tragic and the Government is committed to ensuring that civilian casualties are avoided. Insurgents and terrorists are not, I regret to say, so scrupulous.”

Posted on May 2, 2009 READ MORE


Troopz
arcent.army.mil

One If by Land, Two If by Flee

Six years after the disastrous invasion of Iraq, Britain’s armed forces have formally ended their combat mission in the war-torn country. Believing that their role is finished, U.K. government officials handed over control of their base to the U.S.—not Iraqi—military.

Posted on Apr 30, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Enough With This ‘100 Days’ Nonsense

On what basis have the cable channels decided that President Obama’s first hundred days are the most important thing to happen in the history of the world? As in the case of FDR before him, much has happened in the beginning of the president’s first term—and there is much more to come.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / David Bohrer

Joe Wilson Wants Dick Cheney to Let It All Hang Out

Ever the fan of cherry-picking, former Vice President Dick Cheney has called for the declassification of select intelligence he claims would polish his torture legacy. Whistle-blower extraordinaire Joe Wilson says the “most secretive individual in American politics” shouldn’t stop there—why not air all of the Bush administration’s dirty laundry once and for all?

Posted on Apr 27, 2009 READ MORE


Abu Gharib
smh.com.au

U.S. to Release More Torture Photos

After a series of denials by the Bush administration, the Obama administration has decided it will give in to demands by human rights groups and release up to 2,000 pictures of “prisoner abuse” (torture) to the public by May 28.

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 READ MORE


Torture Was Used to Try to Link Saddam With 9/11

In order to justify George W. Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq, Bush administration officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah to say there was a link between Iraq and the 9/11 hijackers. That link was never established.

Posted on Apr 24, 2009 READ MORE


Iraqi Death Toll Tops 87,000 Since 2005

Citing data obtained from an Iraqi government official, the Associated Press reported Thursday that 87,215 Iraqis have died due to violence since 2005—and that could even be a conservative figure.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Europe Needs No Part in Doomed Afghan War

If Obama had wanted to give the NATO allies prudent advice about how to avoid terrorist attacks, he should have told them to have nothing to do with the American war on terror, even if it is now under Obama management.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE



Apple Goes to War

The military has been deploying Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone, loaded with software that aids in translation, intelligence gathering and shooting people. Military iPods will “display aerial video from drones and have teleconferences with intelligence agents halfway across the globe.” We civilians are still waiting for copy and paste.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Nam Y. Huh

Where’s Rev. Wright When You Need Him?

Israel and the United States will together boycott the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Geneva. Racism, an endemic feature of Israeli and American society, is not, we have decided, open for international inspection. It’s times like this President Obama would do well to heed the sermons of his former pastor.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE


female soldier
dodimagery.afis.osd.mil

Female Soldiers Battle Sexual Violence

Women at war all too often do battle on two different fronts, as author Helen Benedict says in her new book, “The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq.” There’s the fight they signed up for and the one that can make them targets of their fellow soldiers in the most isolating and devastating ways.

Posted on Apr 18, 2009 READ MORE


Columbine Questions We Still Don’t Ponder

As Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s posthumous infamy turns 10 on April 20, I wish I were surprised that Columbine-like shootings are still happening, or even that our national discussion about violence hasn’t yet matured past gun control and video games.

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE



abcnews.com

AIG’s War Business Draws Criticism

At least 30,000 private contractors have been injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the vast majority are insured by AIG. According to an investigation by ABC News, ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times, the insurance giant does about as good a job helping wounded contractors as gaming the derivatives market.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Delusions of Omnipotence

American foreign policy is based not on what we can do, but what Washington wants to do, hence the blunders of Korea, Vietnam and even the Cold War, which the Soviets were kind enough to lose. Even now, the new president is extending the “Long War” on a still more ambitious scale.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Tea and Ignorance

There is little anyone can do about the tax-protest rants except worry they will be believed by a wider public. So, on the theory that the truth will set us free, it is worth examining exactly what we’re all paying, and what for.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


The Obama Doctrine

The president insists that the U.S. can’t achieve great objectives on its own. This may break with George W. Bush’s style, but it is in keeping with the traditions of Roosevelt, Truman and George H.W. Bush.
 

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


The War at Home

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Posted on Apr 15, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Sgt. Kani Ronningen

They Don’t Build Democracies Like They Used To

America promised to bring democracy to Iraq, but more than two months after provisional elections, things have gone from photo-op to fiasco. The New York Times reports on the “threats, intrigue, back-room deal-making, protests, political paralysis and, increasingly, popular discontent” that have come to characterize the Iraqi political process.

Posted on Apr 15, 2009 READ MORE


Pacifica Radio at 60: A Sanctuary of Dissent

The oldest independent media network in the United States turns 60 years old this week as a deepening crisis engulfs mainstream media.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 READ MORE


Vidal

Gore Vidal: ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’

The whip-smart and ever-sly Gore Vidal visited “Real Time” on Friday, giving his historical and sometimes hysterically funny take on the state of the United States. He also revisited a few key moments from his personal history, illustrated by some priceless archival footage found by Bill Maher’s crack research team. Is it too soon to make an Amelia Earhart joke?

Posted on Apr 11, 2009 READ MORE


Tax for the Memories

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Posted on Apr 9, 2009 READ MORE    


Obama: The Extremists’ Nightmare

In the struggle against the extremists and terrorists, the new president understands how to divide the enemy and neutralize their base—and is uniquely suited to accomplish the mission. He got elected in the United States of America, after all.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / keeponilluminating9_11

Shoe-Thrower Catches a Break

Muntadhar al-Zaidi became an instant hero to many when he flung his shoes at George W. Bush, but he was soon sentenced to three years in prison. That penalty has now been commuted to one year, including time served. It still seems a bit steep, considering that he didn’t even make contact and Bush himself dismissed the incident as democracy in action.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE



DoD / Lee Craker

Obama Shows the Troops Some Love

The president on Tuesday made a surprise visit to Baghdad, where he expressed his gratitude to a raucous group of troops: “We have not forgotten what you have already done, we are grateful for what you will do, and as long as I am in the White House, you are going to get the support that you need and the thanks that you deserve from a grateful nation.”

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Now a ‘Soft War’ in Afghanistan, but It’s Still a Disaster

President Obama appears to have fallen for the oldest false dichotomy in the Pentagon repertoire, and the easiest one to sell to the American public. It goes like this: The world is divided between the Evil Folks and the Good. The Good Folks, being what they are, are naturally pro-American, once they get to know us.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Albert F. Hunt

The Business of War

Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


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