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White House photo by Eric Draper

What’s a Billion Dollars Between Friends?

The U.S. is giving Georgia $1 billion in aid, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced. That could be just a friendly donation, or, seen in the light of America’s meddling in the Caucasus, perhaps something more sinister. Sorry we didn’t go to war with Russia, baby, but here’s a billion dollars. Buy yourself something nice.

Posted on Sep 3, 2008 READ MORE


Russia Calls NATO’s Bluff

NATO has now been broken because it was used by the United States and the European NATO members as a tool for expanding Western power into the Russian “near abroad,” and after that, to make an inexplicably rash and dangerous effort to break into and split off portions of the Russian empire as it existed in the 19th century—long before the Soviet Union existed.

Posted on Sep 2, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Jonathan Shapiro on the Hamdan Case

In Jonathan Mahler’s new book, George W. Bush emerges as the most lawless president in American history, the first to usurp the law as a matter of policy.

Posted on Aug 29, 2008 READ MORE


Cleaning Up After Bush

The Bush administration has lived by a strategy of tension, and will go out of office bequeathing the wars it has started and the ill will it has created to its successors, to compromise those who come after.

Posted on Aug 28, 2008 READ MORE


Showstopper

Bill Clinton reminded Democrats on Thursday why he’s one of the brightest stars in the political universe—and a great cheerleader to have on your side—with a rousing speech in support of Barack Obama.

Posted on Aug 27, 2008 READ MORE


military service
AP photo / William B. Plowman

U.S. Military Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ ‘Suicides’?

Since I posted on April 28 the article “Is There an Army Cover Up of the Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers,” the deaths of two more U.S. Army women in Iraq and Afghanistan have been listed as suicides—the Sept. 28, 2007, death of 30-year-old Spc. Ciara Durkin and the Feb. 22, 2008, death of 25-year-old Spc. Keisha Morgan. Both “suicides” are disputed by the families of the women.

Posted on Aug 26, 2008 READ MORE


The Cost of Saakashvili’s Folly

The West’s response to the situation in Georgia evades acknowledgement of the damage Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili has done to the United States and NATO, and to Georgia itself, which for the foreseeable future will now be a nation of limited sovereignty, and an awkward embarrassment to its Western allies.

Posted on Aug 26, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Fraidoon Pooyaa

U.N. Sides With Afghans in Airstrike Controversy

Iraq isn’t the only U.S.-occupied nation looking for some sovereignty. Afghan officials are calling for more regulation of foreign troops amid an uproar over U.S. airstrikes. One recent U.S.-led attack, according a U.N. investigation, probably killed 90 civilians—mostly children.

Posted on Aug 26, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Rafiq Maqbool

Pouring Gas on the Afghanistan Bonfire

Mounting bombing raids and widespread detentions of Afghans are rapidly turning Afghanistan into the mirror image of Iraq. But these very real events, which will have devastating consequences over the next few months and years, are largely ignored by us.

Posted on Aug 25, 2008 READ MORE


U.S. Accused of Jailing Journalists Without a Just Cause

An Iraqi cameraman working for such distinguished news organizations as the BBC, Reuters and NPR was recently detained by the U.S. military for nearly a month. It was but the latest questionable detention in what critics view as a pattern of intimidation.

Posted on Aug 21, 2008 READ MORE


Musharraf
AP photo / Ivan Sekretarev

Pakistani President Musharraf Resigns

After months of mounting pressure and speculation, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced Monday that he is stepping down, but not before defending his legacy, challenging his detractors and admitting that he “may have committed follies.”

Posted on Aug 18, 2008 READ MORE


Russian General Takes Bush’s Bait

With the worst timing imaginable, the U.S. and Poland announced a missile shield deal on Thursday, which prompted a Russian general to strut like a peacock and threaten to punish the land of pirogi. The proposed missile shield has been a go-to irritant for President Bush to use on old friend Vladimir Putin, and for an obvious reason: It works.

Posted on Aug 15, 2008 READ MORE



AP file photo / Loay Hameed

Baghdad Behind Walls

Walls have become ubiquitous in Baghdad, a place where barricades keep militias from one another and hungry shoppers from the nearest kebab. As Iraqis struggle with sovereignty, the barriers are a constant reminder of the American military occupation.

Posted on Aug 14, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Bullit Marquez

“Where Are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?”

Dave continued pacing back and forth in front of Mohammed. “My president,” he said, “is in trouble. Can you help him?” Mohammed was taken aback by the question. “Excuse me?” he asked. “Could you repeat yourself?” Dave sat down next to the Iraqi. “George Bush is in trouble. Our people did not find any WMD in Iraq. Can you help us?”

Posted on Aug 11, 2008 READ MORE


India’s Role in the Afghan Drama

When large and powerful countries intervene in the affairs of smaller countries, they take for granted that they are, or should be—and certainly could be—in control. The reverse is often true.

Posted on Aug 11, 2008 READ MORE


invisibility cloak
shinyshiny.tv

The Power of Invisibility, Brought to You by the U.S. Military

The infiltration of American universities by the military is nothing new, but this is: Scientists at UC Berkeley are zeroing in on a way to render people and inanimate objects—which could include weapons and combat vehicles—invisible.

Posted on Aug 10, 2008 READ MORE


David McKiernan
arcent.army.mil

‘Surge’ Rhetoric Not Universal

Despite criticisms of the efficacy of the “surge” in Iraq, a U.S. commander in Afghanistan has dared to say that a planned “surge” in Afghanistan would in fact not help U.S. interests in the country. The commander did make sure not to completely deweaponize the Bush administration’s rhetoric, suggesting instead that a different type of surge is needed.

Posted on Aug 8, 2008 READ MORE


Musharraf
AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev

Impeachment Threat Looms for Musharraf

For several months, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s political fate has hung in the balance, as last year’s state-of-emergency ordeal made all too clear. Now, the situation in Pakistan is becoming critical, with Musharraf’s opponents calling for his impeachment.

Posted on Aug 8, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Janet Hamlin, Pool

Hamdan Sentence Is a Snub to Prosecution

Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s former driver, has been sentenced by a military jury to five and a half years in prison—most of which he’s already served in detention. The prosecution wanted his sentence to be 30 years or longer, but it needn’t be too upset: The military has said it can hold Hamdan indefinitely if it feels like it. Hamdan’s lawyers are expected to appeal.

Posted on Aug 7, 2008 READ MORE


Threats, Lies and Audiotape

With no end in sight in Afghanistan and Iraq, military recruiters must be prevented from using desperate and aggressive measures to lure our nation’s young people—the poorest and most vulnerable—into the line of fire.

Posted on Aug 6, 2008 READ MORE


Mauritana Military and Police
javno.com

Bloodless Coup Leaders Arrest Mauritania’s President

The government of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdellah came to an end Wednesday in the West African state of Mauritania, as military officers arrested both Abdellah and the prime minister in a coup against a government denounced for its “corruption and ineptitude in handling rising food prices and oil revenues.” Sound familiar at all?

Posted on Aug 6, 2008 READ MORE


Maria Lauterbach
marinecorpstimes.com

Sexual Assault in the Military: A DoD Cover-Up?

There was quite a struggle in Congress this week [July 27-Aug. 2]. The Department of Defense refused to allow the senior civilian in charge of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to testify in Thursday’s hearing on sexual assault in the military. Above, Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who reported being raped in 2007 and whose body was found buried in a backyard in 2008.

Posted on Aug 1, 2008 READ MORE


It’s the War, Stupid

There is nothing like the blast of a Baghdad bomb and the wail of sirens to drown out John McCain’s bitter campaign sound bites or the patter of Barack Obama’s “premature victory lap.”

Posted on Jul 30, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Brennan Linsley

Acts of War

The war between the United States and Iran is on. American taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of Congress, to fund activities that result in Iranians being killed and wounded, and Iranian property destroyed. This wanton violation of a nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated if the tables were turned.

Posted on Jul 29, 2008 READ MORE


Bush Approves Execution of Military Convict

President Bush signed off Monday on the execution of Army Pvt. Ronald Gray, who has been on the U.S. military’s death row since 1988 for rape and murder convictions. Gray’s legal team is expected to appeal, and no date is set for his execution.

Posted on Jul 28, 2008 READ MORE


book cover

Nikki Keddie on Iran

In “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies,” Barbara Slavin, a leading Middle East reporter for USA Today, offers a refreshingly nuanced and revelatory taxonomy of power within theocratic Iran that sheds light on its leaders and their ambitions.

Posted on Jul 25, 2008 READ MORE



hotflick.net

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Don’t Work

Congress is investigating the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for the first time in the rule’s 15-year life. Critics of the famously troubled compromise would like to take advantage of a troop-starved military to scrap the policy, but the opposition argues that openly gay soldiers would frighten away new recruits.

Posted on Jul 24, 2008 READ MORE


Washington’s Overrated ‘Old Hands’

The strongest argument for Obama is the weak performance of the Republican regime’s vaunted “grown-ups,” including McCain and his advisers. They have gone far in proving that experience can be overrated.

Posted on Jul 23, 2008 READ MORE


Bush’s Semantic Withdrawal

It’s not a “timetable” for extricating U.S troops from Iraq that George W. Bush is suddenly talking about, and heaven help anyone who accuses him of proposing a “timeline.” No, the Decider says he is now amenable to a “time horizon,” which apparently is a whole different kind of time thing.

Posted on Jul 21, 2008 READ MORE


Iraqi army patrol
AP photo / Hadi Mizban

Bush Considering ‘General’ Withdrawal Timetable

In what The New York Times is calling a “significant concession,” President Bush allowed the topic of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq to enter a discussion about America’s long-term strategy in the region. This occurred Thursday during a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Posted on Jul 18, 2008 READ MORE


Obama’s Disaster in the Making

Barack Obama is right to want to get out of Iraq, but his eagerness to do battle in the tribal hinterlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan will only lead to a quagmire of his own.

Posted on Jul 16, 2008 READ MORE


Kunar Province attack

U.S. Generals in Afghanistan Ask for More Armored Vehicles

Following this weekend’s attack in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, in which nine American soldiers were killed by Afghan insurgents, U.S. commanders have asked the Pentagon for more heavily armored MRAP vehicles—as many as 600 to 1,000 more—according to this CNN report from Monday morning.

Posted on Jul 14, 2008 READ MORE


The New Dominion

If the 2008 election is destined to break up a frozen electoral map, Virginia is one of the most likely venues for the great political thaw.

Posted on Jul 14, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

Iran Shows Its Cards

Iran’s recent missile tests should remove all doubt that an attack by either the United States or Israel would be a terrible mistake.

Posted on Jul 14, 2008 READ MORE


Obama
Flickr / Allison Harger

Obama’s Plan for Iraq

Barack Obama has an Op-Ed article in Monday’s New York Times outlining his vision for Iraq. It’s mostly a rehashing of positions he has stated over and over again, but it’s interesting to read the quilt work of stump speeches, debate sound bites and policy papers assembled into one document.

Posted on Jul 13, 2008 READ MORE


Occupation Negotiations Hit Snags

President Bush had hoped to shape America’s military presence in Iraq for years after his departure from the White House by negotiating a long-term status-of-forces agreement, but a number of sticking points indicate there will be a much shorter time frame. U.S. negotiators have agreed to a kind of timetable for withdrawal, as demanded by the Iraqis, but are holding out over legal immunity for American forces.

Posted on Jul 13, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

U.S. Loses 9 to Taliban Strike

Nine American soldiers are dead after a Taliban raid on a small combat outpost in the Afghan province of Kunar, near Pakistan. Coalition forces rarely experience such losses. The attack took place close to where the U.S. allegedly killed 47 civilians, a charge the military denies.

Posted on Jul 13, 2008 READ MORE


Inquiry Finds U.S. Strike Killed Wedding Party

Imagine this happening in the U.S.: Forty-seven people, including the bride, are killed on their way to a wedding after an airstrike on “militants” goes off course. Of course, this happened not in the U.S. but in Afghanistan, and, of course, the attack’s civilian toll was initially denied by the U.S. military.

Posted on Jul 11, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Petros Giannakouris

Disorderly or Not, America Should Withdraw

The endless debate about the U.S. withdrawing its army from Iraq and what will happen to the country once it does tends to ignore much of what we know about how the world works.

Posted on Jul 9, 2008 READ MORE


Colombia: Celebrate the Release, Not the Regime

It is fantastic to see Ingrid Betancourt free, but the celebration of her release should not be confused with celebration of the Colombian government.

Posted on Jul 9, 2008 READ MORE


Obama
Flickr / throwthedamnthing

Tehran Shoots, Obama Scorns

Taking a move from the McCain playbook and latching on to the bogeyman that is Iran, Barack Obama responded to Tehran’s long-range weapons tests Wednesday with calls for tougher economic sanctions against the country, whose missiles are now deemed capable of hitting American bases in the region.

Posted on Jul 9, 2008 READ MORE


Gorby doll
Flickr / h-angele

Gorbachev Scolds Obama and McCain

According to Mikhail Gorbachev, John McCain and Barack Obama have more in common than they’d like to admit. Both have refused to address their country’s unprecedented military spending, which the former Soviet leader blames for America’s economic woes. Writing in a Russian newspaper, Gorbachev argued that the U.S. behaves “as if the Cold War were not a thing of the past, and the country were surrounded by enemies.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2008 READ MORE


missile shield
michaelfowlkes.com

U.S.-Russian Tensions Rise Over Missile Shield Plan

Forging an agreement with the Czech Republic to host the radar for the United States’ planned missile shield project represents, according to Condoleezza Rice, a way of making the missile defense system “transparent to the Russians.” Officials in Moscow, however, are inclined to take this latest move as a hostile gesture that could provoke military retaliation.

Posted on Jul 8, 2008 READ MORE


Elah
thecia.com.au

Pentagon Looking to Help Shape War Films

The recent spate of war movies about Iraq and Afghanistan has proved to be a hard sell with American audiences—even more so with the U.S. military. Now, the Pentagon is combating a certain lack of nuance, as military officials see it, in flicks like “Redacted” and “In the Valley of Elah” by offering script consultation services to Hollywood types looking to make movies about the current conflicts in the Middle East.

Posted on Jul 7, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / soldiersmediacenter

Maliki Mulls Troop Pullout

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, eager to sell his colleagues on a status-of-forces agreement with the U.S., has suggested the possibility of a built-in troop withdrawal timetable. The Pentagon isn’t impressed. “Timelines tend to be artificial in nature,” cautioned a U.S. military spokesman.

Posted on Jul 7, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Kevin Sanders, file

Surviving the Fourth of July

I survive the degradation that has become America—a land that exalts itself as a bastion of freedom and liberty while it tortures human beings, stripped of their rights, in offshore penal colonies, a land that wages wars defined under international law as criminal wars of aggression, a land that turns its back on its poor, its weak, its mentally ill, in a relentless drive to embrace totalitarian capitalism—because I read books.

Posted on Jul 7, 2008 READ MORE


Wee the People

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Posted on Jul 6, 2008 READ MORE    


A Loss of Transatlantic Harmony

The relationship among the three principal centers of world power of the past half-century is now at the edge of fundamental change.

Posted on Jul 6, 2008 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / Petty Officer 1st Class Shane T. McCoy

U.S. Borrowed Interrogation Methods From an Old Enemy

One man’s torture, it seems, is another’s “coercive management technique.” For decades the United States has maintained that American prisoners were tortured by the Chinese during the Korean War. Now it turns out that at least some of the interrogation methods used at Guantanamo Bay were lifted directly from an American study of China’s Korean War era practices.

Posted on Jul 3, 2008 READ MORE


Fake Outrage Over Clark Comments

Despite all the feigned outrage fanned by the mainstream media and the right-wing noisemakers, Wesley Clark—retired four-star general, former supreme commander of NATO, wounded and highly decorated veteran of ground combat in Vietnam and a military man to his core—assuredly did not denigrate the war record of John McCain when he talked about the Republican candidate on television last Sunday.

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE


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